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My 2 Cents: The best chipping drill ever

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If you struggle with your pitching and chipping, hitting the ever-popular chunks, skulls, and flipping at the ball at impact, then I have a simple, yet effective practice drill for you to try.

When hitting this type of short shot, your pivot should “pull” your arms, hands and club through impact, keeping the club head lagging behind your hands. But when things get out of sequence, impact becomes wildly inconsistent. In fact, when your pivot stops, the lag pressure on the club shaft is lost and the hands take over with a flip — a move that is the death of any short game.

So for this drill, all you need is astro-turf or a tight carpet in your house, a few pennies and a wedge. Set up to the two coins about two inches apart, as pictured below, and set up to hit a normal greenside pitch to the rear penny. Then, make your normal pitching motion and try to sweep both coins off the ground.

StickneyCoinDrill

If you flip at the “ball,” or in this case, the first coin, you’ll either miss the coins entirely or only hit the first one. Remember, the goal here is to hit both coins every time.

StickneyDrillCoins

This drill will subconsciously teach you the correct pivot sequence, and will certainly keep you from flipping at the coins — and eventually, at a golf ball.

After you can do this drill successfully time after time, a golf ball will look like a beachball on the course and your confidence will soar. It’s also a great drill to do in the winter winter… and by spring, you’ll be getting up and down from everywhere.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: [email protected]

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Nick Coleman

    Sep 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    This is similar to a drill with a ball and tee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EzCinK-glo

  2. Jack

    Sep 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Would you grip down on the grip as clubs get longer

  3. Scooter McGavin

    Sep 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Can I still do this drill in the summer summer?

  4. Steelydan

    Sep 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    ChuckB, sounds like ingraining proper ball-divot sequence to me! A real fundamental.

  5. Josh

    Sep 15, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Not dinging up my Miura’s with no pennies. Thanks tho. 😛

    • Stump

      Sep 15, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Guess you cant afford another wedge

    • larrybud

      Sep 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      You’re not supposed to hit them 100 yards!

    • Scooter McGavin

      Sep 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      I’m pretty sure zinc and copper are a lot softer than steel and chrome wedges… I don’t think you need to worry.

  6. 2cheese

    Sep 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Could you translate this drill to irons in order to better improve ballstriking overall?

    • tom stickney

      Sep 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Yes you could 2cheese

      • Justin

        Sep 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        but you’d have to bring about $20.00 in pennies unless you wanted to walk out on the range and pick them up each time, haha

    • ChuckyB

      Sep 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      I was playing golf with someone once who told me of a drill similar to this but for full shots that may be of some help to you; so far as I know it was specific to iron shots. Basically, you would place something in front of your ball (1-2″), such as a piece of a broken tee (which can easily be found lying around everywhere on a driving range) when hitting shots on a range; when you hit the ball, you would also attempt to hit/pick/brush the object as well; from my understanding, the intent is to shallow or level out the bottom or your swing arch, so as to improve your ball striking. Hope this helps.

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Shawn Clement analyzes Tiger and Charlie Woods’ new golf swings

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Man, I am SO IMPRESSED with the progress and polish Charlie Woods has made with his golf swing in the last year; and boy it’s nice to see Tiger swinging and playing golf! Charlie still has the strong grip but a bit more tempered which allows him to stay more connected to the ground and streamline the efficiency in his golf swing and never taking away his ability to find his targets! Check it out!!

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The Wedge Guy: Learning at home

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I feel blessed to have spent my life in South Texas, where we have the luxury of playing golf year-round. Sure, we have some bad winter weather, but it usually only lasts a few days, then it’s back to the course, maybe with a light sweater or windbreaker . . . but oftentimes in shorts, even in December-February. One of the first things I had to learn when I got into the golf industry 40 years ago, was that so many of you have genuine seasonality to your golf – and actually “hang ‘em up” for months on end.

If you are one of those, or just any golfer who wants to get better in 2022, the great thing about this game is you can work on many improvements without even getting the golf ball involved. So, here are some ideas how you can improve your golf game indoors.

I have made it a life’s work to observe golfers of all skill levels to see what they do that either helps them hit quality golf shots with reliability . . . or what they do that practically makes it near impossible to do so. To me, what separates the better players from those that struggle are several core fundamentals – some have them down pretty darn tight, while others just do not seem to grasp them.

I’ve long believed that you can learn and ingrain these core fundamentals in the comfort of your own home, without even swinging a club. So, with that in mind, let me offer you some thoughts that might help you shrink that handicap, regardless of what it might be.

Learn a proper grip. I see so many recreational golfers who just do not hold the club in such a way that allows proper rotation and release of the hands through impact. The great golfers before us pretty much nailed that part of the process very early in their own learning curves and have shared that with us for decades. While you might prefer an overlap, interlock or ten-finger (not baseball) grip on the club, the fundamentals do not change much from one to the other. The club has to be held in the fingers, not the palms, in order for it to move properly through the swing. It really is that simple. Learn a proper grip and make it instinctive and you are taking a giant step to better golf. There are lots of good guides to a proper grip that can be found online, and even some great training grips that guide you to the correct hold on the club.

Build a proper setup. Again, anyone can learn how to put themselves in an athletic position that gives the body a solid starting point for the golf swing. There is no reason at all for anyone to ignore this solid fundamental. Watch the tour players – PGA and LPGA alike, and you will see very little “personalization” of this preparation for the golf swing. They all look almost identical – save for differences in height and weight – at the start of the golf swing. Again, refer to the internet and photos in magazines to see how the body should be positioned to set up a sound, fundamentally solid swing.
Understand the roles of the body and arms. From my observation, the vast majority of recreational golfers control the entire golf swing with the hands and arms, rather than the body core. That’s only “natural”, because you have a ball sitting there in front of you, and a club in your hands with which to hit it . . . makes sense to fully engage your master hand . . . but that isn’t what golf is about. Golf is about learning a powerful repeating swing, then learning how to set yourself up in such a way that the ball will be precisely in the way of the clubhead as you execute that swing.

I strongly suggest you watch and study slow-motion swing videos of accomplished tour professionals. These will show you what is fundamentally correct. From the start of the downswing, the sequence of body core rotation releases power from the legs to the hips to the core and shoulders, and the arms, hands and golf club are the “followers”, getting to the ball last.
The easiest way to learn the proper rotation of the body core in the golf swing is to cross your arms in front of you, holding a club against your chest. Feet shoulder width apart for balance. Now, rotate your body into the “backswing” until your shoulders are rotated as far as is comfortable, and you feel your weight moving to the inside of your back foot. Then rotate back to your left (for right hand players), starting with the knees/legs, then hips, then shoulders until you feel your weight move to the outside of your lead (left) foot. Do this rotation drill over and over and over until you really “nail it” without thinking about it. As you do, then tilt your upper body so that the club points downward with the shoulder tilt.

As you learn this feel of the body core being the driver and the arms/hands/club being the follower, you will make giant strides toward building a much better and more powerful golf swing.

There’s just no way I can give “lessons” in this blog, but I hope this made lots of sense to all of you. The more “perfect” you can make your grip, posture, and body core rotation, the more power and precision you will build into your golf swing.

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WATCH: James Oh – How to hit the spinner

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Former PGA Tour James Oh shows you how to hit the spinner.

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