Did you know that Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour?
With an average of 3,700 sq. ft. of greens, only Pebble Beach (3,500 sq. ft.) in California is smaller. Here, finesse and shot-making are more important to success than power. Players must plan their way around a course hemmed in by palmetto trees, live oaks with Spanish moss and even the occasional alligator! Another challenge is the tough Bermuda grass surrounding the greens. It grabs and twists the club head and causes the ball to go in the wrong direction. In other words, learning how to chip is key.
Here’s my advice for making chipping a little less stressful and a little more fun.
Positioning to chip:
- Lean 80% of your weight on the forward foot.
- Ball position should be middle to back in the stance.
- Move the ball back for a lower trajectory and forward for a higher trajectory.
- Hold the club with soft hands.
- Rock your shoulders.
- The club head meets the ball on the downswing and lifts it up (see above photos).
- Listen for the ball to land on the green.
- Land the ball on the first two steps of the green and let it roll like a putt.
- A 7 iron flies in the air 1/3 distance and rolls 2/3 distance.
- The pitching wedge flies 1/2 air and rolls 1/2 distance.
- A sand wedge flies 2/3 air and rolls 1/3 distance.
Boo Weekley made a chip shot to win the 2007 RBC Heritage Classic at Harbour Town Golf Links. In 2003, Davis Love III chipped in on his 72nd hole for the win. Learn to chip correctly and you will relax, your driver will improve and you will save strokes!
By Doug Weaver, Director of Instruction, Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy
North Carolina and South Carolina PGA Teacher of the Year, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?”, a free interactive clinic and demonstration every Monday from 4-5 p.m. at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. Call (866) 455-6890 or go to www.palmettodunes.com for more information.