Focus on your wrist to improve putting, chipping
- By Christian Czaja, SwingFix instructor
- Oct 26, 2012 7:00 AM ET
Everyday on the lesson tee I see players who have no concept of how to hit a basic short shot, be it a putt or a chip.
Between 40 and 50 percent of golf strokes occur on or near the putting green. If you want to save shots and lower your scores faster, here are some short game fixes for you.
First of all, let's understand that a solid putting stroke and a short chipping swing are pretty much the same. So why do many players have so much trouble with these short shots?
The cause of the issue is usually the break down or collapse of the left wrist (for a right-hander) at impact. When the left wrist bends or flips during the swing, the clubhead travels in an upward direction when it should move down and forward through impact.
When I watch great putters and chippers, I see absolutely no change in their wrist position. The left wrist is flat!
When I see a golfer with this bent wrist action, I always suggest that they consider changing to a stroke that incorporates a flat left wrist.
Start with your putter and position your left wrist on the grip so that it matches the face of the putter. To make sure you’re doing this correctly, hold the club perpendicular to the green and make sure that the putter face and left wrist line up. If they do, you are ready to roll a few putts.
When putting, focus on your shoulders moving the arms and the flat wrist. The shaft and the left arm should form a vertical line, and with this alignment you will feel solid impact with the ball.
The chipping swing is the same as a putting stroke but the setup is different.
Play the ball back in your stance and lean the shaft forward so that your hands are opposite your front leg. Aim your feet left of the target with a slightly open stance and keep your weight on your front foot. Now make a putting type of swing with the flat left wrist.
Notice that the clubhead stays low after impact and the left wrist is still flat. The contact point with the turf is in front of the ball, and the flat wrist ensures that you make solid contact, allowing you to control the distance and direction of your short shots better.
I feel that the flat wrist is very important for golfers at any level. Pro golfers know this secret and they practice it all the time, and if you work on maintaining a flat wrist you too will see great results!
SwingFix instructor Christian Czaja was selected as the 2010 South Florida PGA Teacher of the Year.
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