“Feel” is your ability to judge how your ball will come off of your club face and out of the rough as it flies towards the green. It also includes how far you feel it will carry through the air and how far it will roll or quickly stop on the green.
Combined, these factors equate into a chip that has the right touch on it to land on the green and nestle up next to the hole for an easy tap in putt. You’ll also get the occasional chip in which is a wonderful feeling when it occurs out of the blue.
Chipping Feel Tip #1: Take practice swings before hitting your chip shot.
Every golf round will be different in terms of grass type or length of grass. You can golf one day and the grass will be long and thick yet coming back just a day later the grass could be trimmed shorter.
We recommend taking practice swings through the grass near your ball to get a feel for how it will snag on your club face. If it’s thick rough you’ll need to consider opening up the face to pop the ball out of the rough softly with spin because you’ll need a more aggressive swing speed to get the club through the thicker rough. Otherwise your ball may come out screaming and streak across the green to the other side’s fringe and rough if you don’t adjust to the thicker grass.
Thin grass gives you the option of a bump and run or a carry and stop chip. Since it won’t snag your club as much, you can get away with using a lower lofted wedge such as a sand wedge or pitching wedge as the ball will come out of thin grass soft and not need a fast swing attack speed.
Practicing swings each day around the greens before chipping will get you accustomed to the different thicknesses and lengths of grasses so that you can pull from their experiences in the future.
Chipping Feel Tip #2: Practice with different wedges
Using the same wedge all the time will get you really good with that wedge no doubt, but it also limits you in tough situations when you need to hit a certain type of chip in order to get near the hole still.
For example, if you have thick rough that your balls sitting down in and you have little green to work with, as the flag is close to the fringe by you, then you’ll need to hit a soft shot with high spin that can stop quickly upon landing.
If you’re only comfortable hitting a 50 degree wedge that has little carry and lots of roll then you’ll struggle to keep the ball from rolling far away from the hole once it lands on the green. This is where having experience with other clubs such as a 58 or 60 degree wedge can benefit you.
- Grab a pitching wedge (48 degrees usually), sand wedge (54 degrees) and a higher lofted wedge such as 56, 58, 60, or even 62 degrees.
- Rotate between these 3 wedges hitting chips to the same hole on the practice green getting a feel for how each hits out of the rough, their carry, and their roll. The 60 degree wedge will obviously be used to work on trying flop shots which is a shot we really like for those clutch situations you need to get an up and down.
- Overall, perform 100s of reps with each wedge if you want to build skill.
If you spend over 50% of your practice time on short game you’ll see your scores improve as long as you are spending that time performing quality reps. Some PGA Tour pro’s actually spend 75-80% of their time on short game practice and Dustin Johnson spends 80% of his time on just his wedges! Copy that (: