Golf tips column: Chip away strokes with more efficient short game

Renee Trudeau
Special to the Sun

Based on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) statistics, even the best professionals only hit 12 greens out of 18 in regulation (one shot on a par-3, two shots on a par-4, three shots on a par-5). Yet, the average pro’s score is under par. That’s because pros need to build a stronger short game and#8212; chipping, pitching, sand play and putting.

Most golfers could shave 10 to 15 strokes off their score by focusing more on the short game than on the full swing at the driving range.

A chip shot is a good place to start when working to improve your short game. A chip shot is a low-flying shot that carries over the rough or fringe, hits the green quickly and rolls to the hole like a put.

To hit this shot successfully, position the ball from the middle to the back of your stance. First, narrow your stance for better lower body control. For greater control, grip the club about an inch farther down from the top of the handle.

Your weight should be 60 percent on your target foot and#8212; the left foot for a right-handed golfer. Point the handle of your golf club to your target thigh. Most importantly, your head and sternum should be aligned to the target side of the ball. This will help you make solid contact.

Swing the club evenly on both sides of the ball so that the backswing and follow-through are of equal length. There is very little wrist hinge or break, so make sure your target arm forms a straight line with the club shaft at the completion of the swing. There should be 80 to 90 percent of your weight on the target foot at the finish of the swing.

The chip shot can be used with any club. Club selection should be based on the amount of green there is between the fringe (start of the green) and the flagstick. If there’s a lot of green, use a less lofted club, like an 8-iron. If there isn’t much green, use a higher lofted club (like a sand wedge).

Simply put, learn and use one swing, and change your club selection to change how the ball reacts.

With a little practice, this shot is sure to be a stroke saver!

and#8212; Renee Trudeau is the lead instructor at The Golf Academy at Old Greenwood. For more information on The Golf Academy at Old Greenwood, call (530) 550-2670 or visit

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