So many mid-high handicap golfers I see are unnecessarily struggling with their chip shots.
When I ask them what they are thinking, they usually respond with a checklist of 20 points they are going through, from set up cues to swing cues.
• Weight on left side
• Handle forwards
• Keep weight still
• Rotate back and through
• Don’t use wrists
• Bla bla bla
While all those things may be well and good, we can’t possibly perform great under pressure with all those thoughts going on.
My three cents
If I put a small coin on top of the grass and told you to sweep it off the grass towards the hole, do you think you could do this?
Of course you could, that’s not difficult.
I’m sure you wouldn’t need a 20 point checklist to sweep this coin out of the grass towards the target
Well, what if I were to tell you that chipping is as simple as this?
Try this drill
Line up 3 coins in a row – place a ball on top of the last coin. Brush the first and second coin towards the target, making sure you hear a nice ‘ping’ as your club strike the coin. Be instinctive about it; forget mechanics and set up for a moment – do what feels comfortable.
Walk into the third coin (the one with the ball on top) and simply repeat the same action, with the intention of sweeping the coin forwards towards the target. Listen out for that crisp clean ‘Ping’ again.
The third coin will have a ball place on top, but just imagine it isn’t there. Clip the coin away like you did the previous two.
When you get to the coin with the ball on top, every bone in your body will want to go through that procedural checklist again – refuse to do it. Just step in and sweep that coin towards the target like a child would.
You will find that, as your action becomes more natural and similar to the swing you use when sweeping the coin, your results will get better and better too.
Science supports it
I rarely do blog posts on things this simple, but it just kills me when I see someone paralyzed by analysis on something as simple as a chip shot.
The majority of golfers I see are completely bound up by not only by internal focuses (body movements etc), but too many declarative thoughts.
The science shows that too much attention to technique under high pressure situations can cause choking. Science also shows internal focuses not only increase the likelihood of choking (1), but they can slow down skill learning and retention.
In my book “The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for golfers”, I discuss ideas behind where you place your focus and how it can affect both performance and learning. Join the thousands of golfers who have bought the book and are improving their games by clicking the link below
Did you know that one of the best ways to improve your short game is by improving the quality of strike?
When you strike the ball better and more consistent, the ball will come off with a more consistent speed and spin – leading to greater control.
The Strike Plan is my online program that helps you achieve this in your short game and long game. Click the image below to learn more.
Rather than go through a checklist of procedures, tap into your instinct while playing by imagining sweeping a coin forwards towards the target.
This single thought can help to simplify your thinking, and as it is external in nature, it can help to improve your performance and retention of performance, as well as perform better under pressure.
Gabriele Wulf , (2013) Attentional focus and motor learning: a review of 15 years. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Vol. 6, No. 1, 77_104,
Seeing the typical player come in everyday, I doubt 50% could hit the coin correctly on the 1st try.
Love the concept and training of low point simply.
Good work Adam
…years ago I learned “brush, brush, let ball get in the way”, a very similar concept…a great “chunking” cue… : )
Your tip requires that the grass under the coin is at least half an inch high, which is just not reality for well-maintained fairways and aprons. The bounce on game improvement irons will prevent getting the club face onto the coin unless one uses a steep angle of attack and takes a divot. No one wants to take a divot on a chip!
Bounce is affected by shaft lean (and club design), not angle of attack. Therefore, even with a very high-bounce game-improvement club, you will still be able to do this drill. It might be a little toucher on very tight lies (links turf), but is still possible. I have an instagram video of myself doing this here – https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgjb3PJHOWE/
I found this idea years ago and I still imagine that coin underneath my ball on the course at times. It’s a great drill, works on carpet or a hitting mat as well!
Interested to try this after work. Being a high handicapper myself, I have no clue what club to use. Any help would be appreciated.