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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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Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive

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Drop the mic on how the wrists should load and be positioned for compressive power, accuracy, and longevity! There is a better way, and this is it!

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Short Game University: How to hit wedges 301

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In golf, there is nothing harder than judging a flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin out of long grass. Why? Because there are so many variables to account for — in addition to what you can and cannot do with a wedge. In fact, up until very recently in the world of wedge design, we were limited to only increasing the landing angle to stop the ball, because relying on spin from this lie and this close to the green was next to impossible.

Now with the advent of things like raw faces, different CG locations, new groove design, and micro-ribs between the grooves, we can now spin the ball out of lies that we never could have done so before. This is not to say that you can now zip the ball back from these types of lies, but we are seeing spin rates that have skyrocketed, and this allows us to not open the face as much as we needed to do before in order to stop the ball.

Before we get into the shot around the green itself, let’s talk a bit about wedge design. For that, I called a great friend of mine, Greg Cesario, TaylorMade’s Staff Manager to help us understand a bit more about wedges. Greg was a former PGA Tour Player and had a big hand in designing the new Milled Grind 3 Wedges.

Cesario said: “Wedge technology centers on two key areas- the first is optimizing its overall launch/spin (just like drivers) on all shots and the second is optimum ground interaction through the geometry of the sole (bounce, sole width, and sole shape).”

“Two key things impact spin: Groove design and face texture. Spin is the secondary effect of friction. This friction essentially helps the ball stick to the face a little longer and reduces slippage. We define slippage as how much the ball slides up the face at impact. That happens more when it’s wet outside during those early morning tee times, out of thicker lies, or after a bit of weather hits. Our Raised Micro-Ribs increase friction and reduce slippage on short partial shots around the round – that’s particularly true in wet conditions.”

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to find optimal CG (center of gravity) placement and how new geometries can influence that. We know that CG locations can influence launch, trajectory and spin. Everyone is chasing the ability to produce lower launching and higher spinning wedge shots to help players increase precision distance control. In that space, moving CG just a few millimeters can have big results. Beyond that, we’re continuing to advance our spin and friction capabilities – aiming to reduce the decay of spin from dry to fluffy, or wet conditions.”

Basically, what Greg is saying is that without improvements in design, we would never be able to spin the ball like we would normally when it’s dry and the lie is perfect. So, with this new design in a wedge like the Milled Grind 3 (and others!), how can we make sure we have the optimal opportunity to hit these faster-stopping pitch shots?

  1. Make sure the face is clean and dry
  2. Open the blade slightly, but not too much
  3. Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the AoA
  4. Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

Make sure the face is clean and dry

If your thought is to use spin to stop the ball quicker under any situation, then you must give the club a chance to do its job. When the grooves are full of dirt and grass and the remaining exposed face is wet, then you are basically eliminating any opportunity to create spin. In fact, if you decide to hit the shot under these conditions, you might as well hit a flop shot as this would be the only opportunity to create a successful outcome. Don’t put yourself behind the eight-ball automatically, keep your club in a clean and dry condition so you have the best chance to do what you are capable of doing.

Open the blade slightly, but not too much

Without going into too much extra detail, spinloft is the difference between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft. And this difference is one of the main areas where you can maximize your spin output.

Too little or too much spinloft and you will not be able to get the maximum spin out of the shot at hand. With wedges, people equate an open clubface to spinning the ball, and this can be a problem due to excessive spinloft. Whenever you have too much dynamic loft, the ball will slide up the face (reduced friction equals reduced spin) and the ball will float out higher than expected and roll out upon landing.

My thought around the green is to open the face slightly, but not all the way, in efforts to reduce the probability of having too much spinloft during impact. Don’t forget under this scenario we are relying on additional spin to stop the ball. If you are using increased landing angle to stop the ball, then you would obviously not worry about increasing spinloft! Make sure you have these clear in your mind before you decide how much to open the blade.

Opened slightly

Opened too much

One final note: Please make sure you understand what bounce option you need for the type of conditions you normally play. Your professional can help you but I would say that more bounce is better than less bounce for the average player. You can find the bounce listed on the wedge itself. It will range between 4-14, with the mid-range bounce being around 10 degrees.

Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the angle of attack

As we know, when debris gets in between the clubface and the ball (such as dirt/grass), you will have two problems. One, you will not be able to control the ball as much. Secondly, you will not be able to spin the ball as much due to the loss of friction.

So, what is the key to counteract this problem? Increasing the angle of attack by setting the wrists quicker on the backswing. Making your downswing look more like a V rather than a U allows less junk to get between the club and the ball. We are not using the bounce on this type of shot, we are using the leading edge to slice through the rough en route to the ball. Coming in too shallow is a huge problem with this shot, because you will tend to hit it high on the face reducing control.

Use your increased AoA on all of your crappy lies, and you will have a much better chance to get up and down more often!

Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

The final piece of the puzzle through the ball is speed through the pivot. You cannot hit shots around the green out of tall grass without keeping the club moving and having speed. A reduction of speed is obvious as the club enters into the tall grass, but you don’t want to exacerbate this problem by cutting off your pivot and letting the arms do all the work.

Sure, there are times when you want to cut off the body rotation through the ball, but not on the shot I am discussing here. When we are using spin, you must have speed to generate the spin itself. So, what is the key to maintaining your speed? Keeping the rear shoulder rotating long into the forward swing. If you do this, you will find that your arms, hands, and club will be pulled through the impact zone. If your pivot stalls, then your speed will decrease and your shots will suffer.

Hopefully, by now you understand how to create better shots around the green using the new wedge technology to create more spin with lies that we had no chance to do so before. Remembering these simple tips — coupled with your clean and dry wedge — will give you the best opportunity to be Tiger-like around the greens!

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An awesome drill for lag that works with the ball!

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Many lag drills have come and gone in this game because they have a hard time working when the ball is there! How many times do you hear about someone having a great practice swing and then having it all go away when the ball is there? This one is a keeper!

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