Thursday, February 05, 2009

Dear T.J.,I have a problem shanking little chip shots around the green. I'm as 5-handicap at my club, but every now and then this error comes out. Do you have any suggestions?Chad S., Via e-mail Dear Chad,
Here's what happening when you shank those short ones. The ProblemBecause of the short shaft of your chipping club (made even shorter if you choke down on the club), your weight shifts to your toes without you even realizing it, forcing you to hang over the ball. Your weight is drawn even more toward the ball when you open your shoulders with your back shoulder jutting out closer to the ball. Add anchoring your weight on your left side to the mix and -- Shazam! -- you are a hanging Chad. When you start your downswing on your toes, your back knee works up and out over your back toe in the direction of the ball and you're forced to swing across the ball contacting the ball on the hosel of the club. The SolutionAddress the ball with more weight on the arches of your feet and distributed back toward the your heels. Take some practice swings ensuring that your back knee works toward the target during the downswing versus out toward the ball. The DrillPlace a shaft on the ground along your toe line and use the shaft to guide your leg action Make sure your back knee never crosses the shaft and ends up slanted toward the target in the direction the ball is traveling. Once you ingrain this feeling of your back knee working toward the target, those shanked chips should disappear.
I don't have to tell you this because you're a 5-handicap, but there are other less fortunate golfers of the high-digit persuasion who simply wave at the ball using their hands and arms to negotiate the chip. If they could only watch you hit the ball with a soft but steady chest rotation all the way to the finish, their chipping problems would disappear. T.J. Tomasi, Ph.D., is lead instructor at the PGA Learning Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla. You can get more tips from T.J. at

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