The chipping stroke is the second-easiest stroke in golf next to the putting stroke, according to Dave Pelz, a professional golf instructor and author of "Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible." This does not mean, however, that you should neglect the chipping stroke during your practice sessions. Perform chipping drills regularly to improve your ability to get the ball close to the hole from just off the green. This will limit the number of putts you take per round and ultimately lower your scores.
When determining how hard to strike a chip shot, you have to factor in how far the ball will roll on the green after it lands. For this reason, professional golfer Tiger Woods recommends focusing on where you want the ball to land rather than the hole when preparing for a chip shot. Pelz suggests performing the basket drill for this purpose. Place a bucket of balls on the ground and a laundry basket at 3, 6, 9 and 12 yards away. Practice chipping the balls into the baskets with all the clubs you might chip with during a round. Keep track of the percentage of balls you hit into the baskets and try to progressively improve your score over time.
Front Arm Only Drill
The proper chipping stroke involves rhythmically rotating the hips and shoulders to lead the arms and club away from and then back to and through the ball in a coordinated fashion, according to Pelz. Problems may arise if you try to chip using only your arms and hands without a synchronized body turn. Pelz recommends performing the front arm only drill to learn this skill. Address the ball with your feet close together and opened about 30 degrees toward the target. Align the ball with your back heel and hold the club with your top hand only, placing your bottom hand on your back thigh. While keeping your front elbow anchored to the side of your abdomen, execute the chipping stroke as described above. You will strike the ball solidly if you perform the mechanics correctly.
Flipping the wrists at contact during the chipping stroke to lift the ball in the air is a common error among golfers. To keep from making this mistake, practice the mid-shaft drill regularly. Grip a club in the middle of the shaft, halfway between the butt end of the club and the club head. Assume your normal chipping stance with the club head off the ground, at about knee height, and the grip pointing diagonally upward next to your front hip. Repeatedly practice your normal chipping stroke, maintaining the gap between the grip and your front side. If you flip your wrists, the grip will hit your body. You can also use a broom handle or any other long implement if a club isn't available.