Crowds marvel when the world's best get the ball to stop to attention when chipping, but aside from the entertainment value, being able to consistently generate spin is a skill that will help you shoot lower scores. Here are a few tips...
1. Use the bounce
A common misconception is that you push your hands forward at address, creating shaft lean and presenting the club to the ball as a digging, rather than gliding, tool. That’s more likely to get the ball skipping and skidding and struggling to spin.
The pros now tend to use a wider, shallower swing that creates a shallower angle of attack to get the bounce working so the club glides through the grass. At impact, the shaft position should be fairly vertical, not leaning forward. This is how to spin the golf ball and get it close.
2. Set-up is key
The correct set-up will simplify the whole swing. Have your weight distribution on the inside of the left foot, your sternum over the middle of the ball and your feet narrower than for a full swing. You can see the perfect ball position is fairly central in the stance.
Feel a relatively soft hand and arm action, which combines with the body pivoting back and through around the balance point. There will be a smooth release of the club as the body continues to turn to face the target. Impact will be more of a sliding movement, allowing the lower grooves on the clubface to come into play.
3. Keep your grooves clean
To generate spin, the bottom grooves of your wedge need to grab the underside of the ball, which is why setting up with the hands forward and the shaft leaning doesn’t work. From there you will come down steeply, with the ball making contact more towards the middle grooves. If you come in shallower from a more neutral set-up, the lower grooves will grab the underside of the ball and create more friction. Friction creates more spin because the ball holds onto the face for longer.
The grooves will grab the ball through impact, creating the spin you need for control when you chip. However, if there is any dirt or water in those grooves, you'll fail to benefit from any friction through impact - even with the best wedges. It takes two seconds to clean your grooves and it can really help you around the green while also prolonging the life of your club.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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