When your short game suddenly spirals out of control, it's amazing how many different bad shots can pile up--you lay the sod over one, blade another and end up a nervous wreck unable to pull the trigger. Here are a couple of quick ways to regain control of your chipping game.
The Langer Method
Remember when Bernhard Langer held his left wrist with his right hand when he putted? It was an unusual method, but it's a great way to keep your left wrist from breaking down and to achieve the descending blow you want for chipping. Hold your left wrist and the handle together firmly like Langer, and lead the club into impact. You'll be surprised how quickly you improve.
RICK GRAYSON is director of instruction at the Connie Morris Learning Center in Springfield, Mo.
Even if it's just in your backyard, try to spend about 20 minutes a week practicing your chipping. When you do, place a second ball three inches outside the ball you're about to hit. Focus your eyes on the second ball all the way through the chip. Not looking at the actual ball will take the "hit impulse" away, so you'll stop flinching and stroke the club smoothly for better contact.
Lean Left at Setup
Even if you don't have the chipping yips, you probably need some work with your setup. Very few players remember to lean left at address, which makes it hard to hit their chips with any sort of touch and control. You should feel like the center of your chest is ahead of the ball, which should be played in the middle of your stance. Setting your weight left makes it easier to bring the club down through impact.