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PGA instructor Kellie Stenzel helps a reader overcome fear on chip shots

Kellie Stenzel, PGABy Kellie Stenzel, PGA,
Special Contributor
Chipping
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At address, be sure you far enough away from the ball with your feet, Kellie Stenzel advises reader Patsy Fournier. (Courtesy Robert A. Durkin)

Most PGA Tour players and professional golf instructors will tell you your short game can be the difference between saving and losing strokes. A great short game requires mastering several specific shots for a variety of situations: The wedge approach, the bump-and-run, the release or spin, the bunker shot and the simple chip. That last one is vexing WorldGolf.com reader Patsy Fournier, who wrote to me recently.

Dear Kellie,

I need help with chip shots. I liked your idea of the visual tip about the bunker shot. I am hoping you can provide something similar that I can visualize when I have to chip. I tend to freeze when the shot calls for a chip.

Thanks,
Patsy Fournier

Dear Patsy,

You are not alone in feeling like you "freeze" when you need to chip. Here are the two things I would check.

1. Your set up posture

Be sure that, at address, you are in the proper posture where you are far enough away from the ball with your feet that you can bow forward from your hips. If you are properly bowing forward from your hips at address you should feel that your chest is over your toes. This will allow your arms to have a postion to hang straight up and down. You may also check to see that your arms do not touch your torso or your legs if you are bowing forward properly.

2. Keep your lead arm moving forward

Your putting motion and your chipping motion are virtually the same from a slighly different set up. Remember when you chip you should be gripping low, stance narrow and your weight should favor your forward foot. When you putt you do not use your wrists, but rather move the triangle formed by your arms and shoulders as a unit. Make this exact same motion when you chip.

Be sure that your lead arm (the arm closer to the target) also continues to move forward toward the target. Your left arm should finish left of your left leg. You can check this by holding your finish. This is a good habit and you can see whether or not you have allowed you lead arm to move forward.

Good luck - I hope this helps.

- Kellie Stenzel, PGA, has been named by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 Teachers in America, and has been a Golf For Women Top 50 teacher since 1999. She has published three books: "The Women's Guide to Golf: A Handbook for Beginners," "The Women's Guide to Consistent Golf," and "The Women's Guide to Lower Scores." She is also rated by Golf Digest as one of the top teachers in New York.

 
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