Originally Published: May 9, 2018 10:26 p.m.
Most of us learned the traditional method of chipping. I was successful with the traditional method when I practiced and played a lot. But in the golf management business, I rarely had time to practice or play. And my chipping skills suffered.
The traditional method had the golfer set up in a standard posture and play the ball back in the stance with the weight and hands forward. Many factors were affected depending on how far back in the stance the ball was positioned, how far ahead the hands were, how much forward the weight was, and the angle of attack.
These affected variables were the launch angle, the air time and the subsequent roll of the ball. Plus, the club worked in an elliptical path dictated by the player’s standard posture. All of these added up to too many inconsistencies for me to get the results I wanted.
Then I went to an “old school” method of chipping that was taught and used by Paul Runyan, a Hall of Fame Tour Player. Let me explain how to implement this easy chip shot. I suggest using an 8 iron, pitching wedge and sand wedge, and keeping it simple with just these three clubs. Hold the golf club like a putter with the heel of the club off the ground and the toe contacting the ground.
The shaft will be nearly vertical with the arms relaxed and bent. The ball will be placed nearer the toe of the clubface, not off the middle, due to the vertical shaft and the clubface contacting the ground more toward the toe. The ball will be in the middle of your narrow stance, and with your weight equally distributed. If you had a cold, your boogers would land on the ball. Thus, the memorable names I gave this shot.
The stroke is a putting stroke. No “wristy” movements. Locked wrists, and just rock the shoulders and arms. It is a short swing equal in length on the backswing and follow-through. Say to yourself during the stroke “tick – tock” with “tick” on the backswing and “tock” on the follow-through. And most importantly, contact the ball below its equator.
Here is why I prefer this chip shot method. First, the club moves more on the target line due to the posture of the “snot over shot” vertical shaft versus the elliptical path that results from a standard set-up. Second, the loft of the club used, as well as the angle of attack, are constants, thus producing consistent launches. With the club traveling more on target line with a consistent launch angle and using only three clubs, you can easily judge the air time of the ball (carry distance) necessary to hit your landing target and the resulting roll with just a minimum of experience and adjustment.
This shot may not be for everyone. Tour players who spend hours practicing and playing and have ingrained the traditional method probably won’t use it. But if you don’t have the time, are chunking or blading your chips, or just starting out playing golf, experiment with the “boogers over ball” chip shot. Try it, you might like it.
John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.