Bump and Run Dr Jim Suttie

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We know it's difficult to find time to practice during the week. When a Saturday or Sunday tee time rolls around, you're hoping to find some spark or productive swing thought that will help you break 100, 90, 80 or whatever your scoring goal may be.

With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Dr. Jim Suttie, director of instruction at the Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., and one of Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers.
Dr. Jim Suttie, Golf DigestDR. JIM SUTTIE
Director of Instruction, Club at TwinEagles, Naples, Fla.; Teaching Professional, Cog Hill G. & C.C., Lemont, Ill.

Accomplishments:
- Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers
- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America
- PGA National Teacher of the Year (2000)

Students (past and present):
Paul Azinger, Loren Roberts, Mark Wilson, Steve Flesch

Web Site:
jimsuttie.com
 
Contact: 1-800-765-3838

Suttie, who has a doctorate in Biomechanics, is an expert on movement, and says that 'excess movement in the body' and too much hand action at the bottom of the swing is the primary reason why golfers chili-dip shots (i.e., hit more ground than ball).

'They try and help the ball up with their hands, instead of hitting down on the ball,' says Suttie. 'You need to let the simple rotation of the torso take the triangle [formed by the arms, shoulders and club] through. If the average amateur thought, ‘triangle back, triangle through,’ with little or no hand action, they’d get rid of that shot.'

To submit a question to Dr. Suttie or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered.
 
Any other advice on how to get rid of the chili-dip, or chunked chip?

Everybody’s different, but I’d say for the average golfer, they’re trying to help the ball up with their right hand and they’re moving too much. I’d cut down on their motion and set their weight on their left side, and make them think like the triangle formed by their arms, shoulders and club is going back in one piece and coming through in one piece. Let that simple body rotation bring the club through with little or no wrists.
 
What's the most common chipping fault you see with amateurs?

Usually the ball is too far forward and the golfer is standing too far from the ball; they’re not in there tight enough. And their weight isn’t left enough. To get their weight left and keep it there they’ve got to hit down on the ball. Moving that weight around and trying to help up with the right hand is what causes a chili-dip.

Should there be any hinging of the wrists on a basic chip shot and, if so, how much?
 
Not really because you preset that hinging at address by getting the ball back [in your stance] and the hands forward. The average guy shouldn’t fool with it because he’s already pre-hinged his hands at address. All he has to do is take that triangle swing and he should hit it okay. Pros are different – every swing is a different challenge for them.

Speaking of pros, Phil Mickelson is one who advocates the hinge-and-hold method in chipping. He talks about it quite a bit in his new DVD, Secrets of the Short Game. Why is this bad advice for the average golfer?

Amateurs can’t do it. When they hinge it, they throw their right hand at the ball. They’ve got to keep their right hand out of it and quit scooping. That’s got to be their main thought.

Chip like you putt?

Yes, except that when you chip you have to play the ball different, and the weight is different. Your ball position has got to be back because you're hitting down on the ball; in putting it’s forward because you have to be hitting up on the ball. Your weight should be 70, 80 percent left when chipping, and it needs to stay there throughout the entire stroke.

When the weight is left, like it should be, the ball will be back a little bit so your hands are forward and you can make a downward blow. Most amateurs, if they kept it that simple they’d get rid of a lot of their bad shots around the green. But they don’t. The simpler you can keep it and the less motion you bring to the chip shot, the better.

Should you chip with a variety of clubs, just one, or a few?

For the amateur, the closer you can stay with one club, the better. Two clubs at the most, because of the fact they take different trajectories and they don’t take enough practice time to work on all of these trajectories. I’d suggest an 8-iron, or maybe a wedge if they have to loft it a little bit.

The length of the swing will be a little longer as you move farther back and you’re hitting a wedge, but the closer they can stay to one club the simpler it is. Everything in golf for amateurs is about simplifying the motion, not making it more complex for them. It’s way too confusing to be using all of those clubs for the average guy. They talk themselves into hitting it poorly.

When is it a good option to chip with a hybrid club?

When you have some fringe to go over, it will help the ball roll better and the club won’t dig as much. If you’ve got some very short rough to go over and you have a good amount of distance to the pin, it’s ideal.

How does the setup and technique differ from a normal chip?

Since your lie is much better, you don’t have to play the ball back as far; you don’t have to hit down as much. But there really isn’t much difference there. It’s going to be the same shoulder motion and you’re just going to let the loft of the club do the work.

If you were to leave amateurs with one piece of advice on chipping, what would it be?

Use only two clubs and get your technique to where you’re running the ball more to the hole, and not lofting it. When you loft the ball, you bring in more hand action. It’s easier to chip if you can run it, and most people don’t do that. They’ll try and get it up in the air and carry it to the hole.

 
Dr. Jim Suttie Instructional Videos

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