Chipping…..from scratch

The other day Christopher and I had a group of 6th and 7th graders and we spent a very quick hour and a half on chipping skills.  Most of the kids have played a bit but are all still learning the basics of the game.  I’m working on structuring my instruction a bit differently and was very happy with the results and response from the kids.

In my opinion it takes three basic skills to chip the ball well:

  1. Controlling trajectory
  2. Landing near your intended spot
  3. Controlling distance

Within each of those skills there are a variety of options and variations that will affect the final outcome.  Instead of spending 15+ minutes go over stance, ball position, swing motion and club selection we set up 5 stations that focused on one of the three skills.  We introduced each station, paired the kids up and let them “discover”.  While they worked the stations, competing along the way of course, Christopher and I introduced stance, ball position and swing motion.

Our 5 stations consisted of:

  1. String 18 inches above the ground and had to hit chip shots over the string
  2. String 18 inches above the ground and had to hit chip shots below the string
  3. 25 inch diameter circle and had to land chip shots inside the circle
  4. Two parallel strings approximately 3 feet apart from each other and 18 feet from the starting point.  Had to keep as many balls between the circles
  5. 2 holes at different distances which they hit 2 shots at each hole

It was great to see the kids all engaged and focused on the various stations.  We discussed each of the skills as they moved between stations and were able to address individual golfer’s strengths and weaknesses.  All of the kids showed improvement and were able to keep a ball low, hit a ball high, understood distance control and the importance of landing in the intended spot.

Breaking down the chip shot and making it fun really made the session beneficial for the golfers.  They changed clubs during the stations and grasped the concept of controlling trajectory with the strings.  The easiest station was hitting shots under the string, the hardest was landing shots in the circle.  To make it better they had to discover and figure out how to accomplish each of the skills.  It was great to see all of the realize the importance of getting the ball on the ground as quickly as possible.  As the man Peter Scott once said “Putt it if you can, chip it if you can’t, wedge it if you must.”

About Coach Matt

Class "A" PGA golf professional and GM of the Del Mar Golf Center, a Top 50 Practice Facility. My goals are to educate myself as much as possible about the game of golf and share that information. I hope to help golfers practice more effectively, transfer those skills to the golf course and enjoy the game of golf.

Posted on April 2, 2014, in Chipping, Discovery Learning, Juniors, Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Matt

    Love the drill for controlling ball during a pitch or chip. Visual aids really help most beginners understand how to control the ball.

    Cheers
    Jim

  2. Hi Matt, love the introduction of the stations and the focus on “discover”. The ability to keep them engaged and learning, all while having fun (novel concept, right?) is awesome. The attention span of 6th and 7th graders is not long, and your success in keeping them actively learning is something to note and be proud of! Then again, from what I know of your programs, that’s not a chance happening. Del Mar brings the real deal to players of all levels!

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