Chipping Tips to Control Your Wedge Shot Distances
When I was playing golf in high school, I would read a lot of golf articles on chipping and putting. I believed the short game was most important to helping me quickly lower my golf scores from 120+ to breaking 80 as a beginner and so I spent time studying it, mastering it, and obsessing with it.
Today I want to pass on a super important tip to help you improve your chipping distance control. I remember reading this short game tip from Butch Harmon.
How to Hit Chip Shots Awkward Distances
The best way to control your wedges and adjust for different distances you face on the golf course is to grip down the shaft but still swing normal.
Why this works?
Golf clubs are different lengths for a reason. The longer shaft length helps generate more power and thus you hit your driver farther than you would hit your wedge.
By lowering your grip further down the shaft on your wedges, you are effectively “shortening” the club which will result in changing the maximum potential distance you can hit that wedge.
This is the key to adjusting for distance control when chipping.
The Math to Back Up This Chipping Distance Control Tip
To help you make sense of this important chipping tip like I did when I first read it, you need to see some number examples.
Let’s say you have a 52 degree wedge, 56 degree wedge, and 60 degree wedge in your golf bag. And let’s say these are your average “max” distances for each:
- 52 – 105 yards
- 56 – 85 yards
- 60 – 65 yards
Out on the golf course you may find yourself facing a wedge shot from 100 yards.
Most golfers would naturally think about swinging with less power. Instead of a full swing with normal speed, they may attempt a full swing but slow down the swing a hair to get it to fly 100 yards instead of 105 yards.
This can work, but you’re more likely to be inconsistent. When you mess with rhythm and tempo in the golf swing, you’re more likely to have mis-hits and ball striking issues.
Instead, use our distance control tip we discussed above and grip down a little further than normal on your wedge but still swing normal with the same swing speed.
You’ll find that your wedge doesn’t fly quite as far, allowing you to hit that 100 yard shot perfectly.
The Three Quarter Swing
The distance control tip of choking down on your club applies when you need to change your distance by a few yards. Instead of a 138 yard maximum shot, you choke down to hit a 134 yard shot. Instead of a 90 yard shot, you choke down to hit a 88 yard shot.
But times when you are facing difficult in-between club decisions, the three quarter shot is still the an effective technique for distance control success.
An example scenario is if you faced a 94 yard wedge shot.
Your 52 degree club would fly 105 yards and your 56 degree club would fly 85 yards, leaving you no choice but to hit the 52 degree club. But hitting your 105 yard club only 94 yards is going to be awkward.
This is where you should master the three quarter swing which would allow you to hit your 105 yard club only 90 yards while keeping the same tempo.
We’re not slowing down the golf swing tempo. We’re instead, restricting the backswing length to three quarters to take away power.
Final Tips to Use on Your Short Game
Overall try these tips when hitting wedge shots, pitch shots, chip shots. Work on choking down the club shaft to adjust distance control rather than slowing down the swing.
Make sure you continually practice your full swing and three quarter swing distances so you can dial them in while mixing in the choke down technique to help you master many different distances you’ll face out on the golf course.
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