10 chipping and pitching techniques to dial in your touch around the greens

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel shares 10 chipping and pitching techniques that players should use to improve their short game.

The post 10 chipping and pitching techniques to dial in your touch around the greens appeared first on Golf.

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel shares 10 chipping and pitching techniques that players should use to improve their short game.

The post 10 chipping and pitching techniques to dial in your touch around the greens appeared first on Golf.

While it’s rare for an amateur to crush a driver 300 yards down the middle of the fairway, one area of the game where they can really improve their score is in the short game.

When a player has supreme touch while chipping and pitching around the greens, they give themselves more of an opportunity to shoot low scores.

Unfortunately, many amateurs lack the desire to practice their chipping and pitching, and often find it more fun to hit driver or long irons at the driving range — but it’s time to change your mentality!

To help improve your short game and get you closer to the pin, I provide 10 techniques below that will lead to better chipping and pitching. So take a look to see how to blow away your competition from around the putting surface.

Use these chipping and pitching techniques to improve your short game

Just a little bit of focused time and effort on chipping and pitching can save you so many strokes each round. It will also help you build and sustain confidence in yourself.

So start practicing by following my tips, which will remove pressure when you’re faced with a similar situation during a future round.

1. Start with contact while chipping

Any good warmup or practice session starts with good technique, as it’s quite difficult to control distance without getting good contact in the center of the clubface.

Don’t be overly target-concerned on your first few chip shots. Just make good, solid strokes, ensuring that the ball gets into the air and has the appropriate flight to roll once it lands.

For example, a pitching wedge should be approximately one-third carry and two-thirds roll. To help gauge this, you can always place alignment sticks (available here) to practice where to land the ball, helping reinforce these ratios.

2. Chip to a circle

Once you have good contact, then you can start to work on distance control by hitting towards a target.

Rather than always aiming directly at the pin, I suggest creating a circle around the cup, working on landing balls within this circle. Shorter chips should have a smaller circle (3-4 feet), and longer chips can be a bit more forgiving (5-6 feet).

To really challenge yourself, set a goal and practice on getting a certain number of balls within the circle before moving on to another task.

3. Up and down challenge

If you find yourself mastering the circle challenge, a higher-quality goal would be to target a percentage goal of up-and-downs, which includes putting.

For instance, take 10 golf balls and chip each of them to the same target. Then try to sink the putt from each ball’s remaining distance, keeping track of how many you get up and down.

This exercise will help you set realistic expectations when you play, with the goal to replicate the same touch, feel, and execution on the course.

4. Chip ’till you sink one

Really feeling adventurous? Rather than aim for a circle or focus on getting up and down, try actually sinking your chip from just off the green.

While difficult to execute, I really like this drill because it can get you in the right mindset, and allows you to stay competitive with yourself until you chip a shot in — and reminds you to stay aggressive when possible during a round, proving to yourself that chipping in is a possibility.

5. Change target, change the club

Rarely will you ever have the same chip twice, so it’s important to practice from different distances using different clubs. That’s why I suggest working on your ability to control distance to a changing target — mixing in a variety of wedges.

While there may be small adjustments in your stroke size when chipping, it can be much more efficient (and less risky) to just change your club — as this can impact the overall flight-to-roll percentage.

However, it takes practice to understand when to use a certain club in a given situation.

6. Start with contact while pitching, too

Similar to chipping, it’s so important to gain confidence by making good contact while pitching as well.

To accomplish this, the clubface should be square to slightly open at address, with a centered to slightly forward ball position. The club shaft doesn’t lean forward, but the grip is more in line with the clubhead to maintain both loft and bounce.

I personally prefer a wedge with a higher degree of bounce, helping my club glide across the ground before impacting the ball.

7. Clear the bunker 10 times in a row

When you’re hitting a pitch shot, you often need to go up and over something — like a bunker or long grass. So it can be really helpful to practice this and make the situation as real as possible before heading to the course.

In your practice area, find a location where you can go over a bunker and onto the green.

Now, set a goal for yourself, requiring each ball to clear the bunker 10 times in a row.

When you first start this practice technique, going a little long is OK. In most cases, pitching long is better than being short — so you want to train yourself to do this during practice.

8. Clear the bunker and land on the green 10 times in a row

Now that you’ve been able to go over the bunker 10 times in a row, hold yourself to a higher standard — by making sure you clear the sand and keep your ball on the green 10 times in a row.

Don’t worry so much about the overall landing spot just yet — meaning the distance from the hole. Just focus on getting 10 shots in a row to land and stay on the putting surface.

9. Pitch to a circle (a larger one than chip circle)

Now that you’re able to hit 10 shots onto the green over a bunker, narrow your target area, choosing a circle around the cup to land your shots in.

Before doing this, you may have left yourself 8-12 feet from the cup. But by choosing a target area about 5-6 feet from the hole, you’re increasing the pressure to be even more precise.

Attempt to hit a certain number within the circle before moving on to your next task.

10. Pitching match play

Looking for a little more fun while practicing your pitch shots? One way is to challenge a friend to a competitive match play contest, which will add a little pressure for each of you.

Pick different holes and/or landing spots as targets, and work on your distance control. Each shot is worth one point, and the player who’s closest to the hole wins the point.

This is a great way to replicate on-course pitching, with each shot forcing you to adjust to different targets and distances each time.

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The post 10 chipping and pitching techniques to dial in your touch around the greens appeared first on Golf.