Chipping with Matt

Matt hasn’t been playing golf that long. He was an AFL champ until he got hooked on golf. Although he is strong, supple and coordinated he lacks the finesse and touch around the greens. It is a real weak link to his game. Probably costing his more shots than his powerful, but erratic, long game.

Watching him chip around the practice green I could see his big problem. He is doing what he thinks is the right thing to do – chipping with a sand iron.

Although his golfing mates and most tour professionals chip with a sand iron or lob wedge, this is not good for Matt at this stage in his development.


Because he hasn’t mastered a basic chip shot. His sand iron shots were inconsistent. One shot would come out low with spin, while another would be hit high with little spin. It is impossible for him to judge how hard to hit each shot. This causes self-doubt and fear and results in shots that blow up his score – like complete duffs or bladed shots across the green.

The solution is simple. Start chipping with a six iron. The technique is basic. Choke down on the club, get close to the ball and play it from way back in the stance. It’s a bit like a putt and the ball flight should be really consistent – a low running shot.

With a little discipline I know Matt will get really good at this shot. It’s not a difficult technique and he is more than skillful enough to master it.

Like with his driver swing, he will be tempted to hit his sand iron on the course. The low spinning shot with a lofted club looks pretty and gets the boys in the group talking. But it is pure ego. He needs to learn to walk before he can run.

His objective is to chip all shots with his six iron – hit the low running shot and get the ball onto the green. It’s not the most exciting shot and it is unlikely to win him any accolades for being flamboyant. But it will improve his score. Which he has told me is his main goal.

The question you’re probably asking is, “what happens if he has to hit over a bunker or a tree. Surely he can’t use a 6 iron then?”. Good question. I’ll cover this in a later post.

For the moment Matt is chipping with his 6 iron. When he improves he can move onto the 8 iron and eventually to the sand iron. This steady progression will see him develop a sound chipping game and help him be the best player he can be.

More to come.

This is a series of posts where I help golfer Matt improve his golf game. For the first post in the series please check out a lesson on driving the golf ball

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  • Tony Lucas (Lukey)

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    Hi Cam
    Enjoying this little series you have going with Matt and I agree with using as many clubs in the bag as you can for chipping because it increases your repertoire as does the softer pitch from 100 meters out (ie for me 6 or 7 iron) . I am interested you suggest all chips be played off the back foot why?
    Cheers Lukey

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    @Lukey – the ball must be played back in the stance to ensure you hit the ball first and not the ground. Playing the ball forward makes life difficult because you’re always fighting to avoid hitting the big ball (earth) first.

    Let me know if this makes sense?



  • Tony Lucas (Lukey)

    Reply Reply October 22, 2009

    Great all off the back foot from now
    Cheers Lukey

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