This article is in response to a question from one of you about having the right objective when you are faced with a chip shot you deem “makeable”. Phillip asked:
Here's another question that I faced twice this weekend - when you are chipping and have what seems to be a very makeable chip, whether it be due to distance, read, etc., would you suggest approaching the shot any differently (I do know that the goal of all chips should be to hole them, just like all putts, but some this seems more likely than others)?Well, Phillip, first of all, I disagree that your goal on all chips should be to hole them. To me, most of the time your goal should be to leave yourself the best putt following the chip. For example, if you are chipping to a hole position where you just do not want to be above the hole, your goal should be to leave yourself a putt from below it. In many cases, a 5-6’ uphill putts beats the heck out of a little 2-3 footer downhill and across the slope.
First of all, you are chipping because you missed the green. Unless you are a very low handicap player, your first goal must be to minimize the potential damage of that miss. I like to approach all chips from the standpoint of “where do I want to putt from after this chip?” If the green is very flat, it really might not matter. But if you are playing greens like we have at our club, there is usually a better side to putt from. Those little downhill sliders . . . 3 foot putts that are lightening fast and have several inches of break . . . very often leave you a 5-6 footer coming back, or worse. It’s not unusual to see a routine chip that gets away a little turn into a three-putt double bogey pretty darn quickly.
But yes, there are times when you have a short distance chip that you just see the line and feel like you can make it. But I don’t really think there are any changes you make in your technique at all. What I think you do have to do is “grind” on the line and speed like you would any putt you are trying to make. Fill your eyes and mind with the exact hole location. See the path the ball will take all the way to the hole. And “see” it dropping in for an uplifting chip-in.
That’s how I see it. Anyone have something else to add?
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