When you are playing your round here at River’s Edge Golf Course in Bend, OR, or any other course for that matter, you must be working towards mastering the chip shot. To do that, you need to be able to control both your wedge trajectory and spin. I like to keep the wedge shots from flying too high into the air, since that makes it harder to control distances in your short game. Instead, by managing and controlling your trajectory, you can be a bit more aggressive when hitting your wedges. I prefer to see all of the wedge shots a bit flatter of an arc and with a consistent spin pattern to them. This shot preference will create a more consistent shot dispersion with distance control.
Here is how you make this shot happen. First, unlike a full-swing shot with a driver, where the body naturally shifts over the back leg (away from the target), with shots from 120 yards and in, you would need to keep your weight centered (maybe even a little towards the target) through the entire swing.
By staying centered (or maybe even a little towards the target), you will steepen the angle of attack, adding more spin to the golf ball after impact. This is exactly what you need and since you are now more forward during your swing, your hands will be slightly forward of the golf ball through impact, which lowers the trajectory of the ball. I want to make sure that we don’t balloon the golf ball high into the air because this creates a bit of uncertainty in distance control when mastering the chip shot. Keeping your weight forward not only brings down the trajectory, creates more spin with consistency, it also allows you to hit stronger wedge shots when playing into the wind.
Practice hitting your wedges lower using this technique, whether it be a pitching wedge, sand wedge or any other club designed for chip shots. First, as a drill hit golf balls with your weight on only your forward foot with very little weight on the back foot. You will notice that your backswing length becomes more compact and predictable. Simply finish your wedge shot swing fully towards the target after impact make sure to accelerate while keeping your hands slightly ahead of the golf ball at impact. Ball position will be centered to maybe just a half of a ball forward of center when doing this drill and also when playing a wedge shot on the golf course. Also, practice hitting different distances by adjusting your swing length and swing speed while keeping an eye out for any golf balls that begin to fly higher than your now standard wedge flight. Contact is going to be most important for creating this overall consistent ball flight, and by not moving off and away from the target when hitting your wedges should only help with your ability to make ball first, ground second contact. Continual practice using these golf tips will help you in mastering the chip shot and improving your overall golf game.
Remember: Never hit the big ball first (Earth) and always have fun practicing with a purpose.