Trent Wearner, a PGA teaching professional from Colorado, believes the ability to transfer the game you practice to the golf course must be done through competitive practice games that create pressure through the use of a scoring system, or competition. In this series, Wearner explains how a chipping game focused on holing the chip shot, as well as successfully getting the ball up and down, will improve your chipping on the golf course to give you more confidence – and more par saves.
Chipping one in can be the most memorable shots of your round, and holing one during competition can kick-start your game as you come down the final stretch. Just ask Tiger Woods about his unbelievable chip-in on No. 16 in the 2005 Masters or Tom Watson at the 17th at Pebble Beach regarding his shot that helped him beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1982 U.S. Open.
Knocking one in can refocus your energy and thrust your game to a level that shakes the play of your opponents. While this game requires you chip one in, it also calls for a successful up-and-down. So it not only helps you think offensively while approaching a chip shot, but also helps you take care of the business at hand.
• Start with five golf balls and pick a hole to chip to that resembles a typical chip shot on the golf course.
• Putting out with each of the five balls – assuming a total of 10 strokes as even par (one chip and one putt with each ball) – the goal is score nine or less.
• Repeat chipping to the same hole until you’ve accomplished an under-par score. Once you successfully score under par, either change locations and try it again, or remain chipping to the same hole, but add five more balls to chip with 10. If you choose to chip with 10 balls, the under-par goal would be a score of 19 or less.
This is a long-term game you can use to practice throughout the years – a game that, purely by its nature, makes you practice with a purpose and specific goal in mind.
The measurable results of this game will directly correlate to how you approach a chip-shot on the course, helping you look forward to the task at hand, instead of fearing it.