I had a dream the other night. It had an “motley crew” of characters – as most dreams do. In the dream I found myself at my old golf club in Sydney, on the side of the third green. I played a chip-and-run shot up the bank and into the hole. Nice.
I didn’t think much of it until today – a week after the dream and two days after my weekly “hit-out” in the mid-week competition up here on the Sunshine-coast in Queensland (Eastern Australia).
In this mid-week competition I had two unfortunate double-bogeys, my driver has been “hot and cold” – it contributed to the first one (of-course, the idiot holding onto the driver was – and always is – the cause of the poor shot, not the particular club).
Forty minutes of rain and cold weather early in the back nine created a deep yearning to leave the glum conditions and get off the damn golf course!). Lucky for me, I was paired with the President of the club – a strong, come hell or high water, ex-army man who would never walk off a course because of mere rain, thunder and lightening! (We were rewarded for persisting: the rain eventually left and we played the last 5 holes in calm weather).
Apart from the “doubles”, +1 for the other 16 holes was fine. The positive parts of the game were good putting and very good chipping. The chipping and short-pitches are parts of the game that bring me a lot pleasure nowadays.
How to chip like a “cocky, fearless, 12 year old”
Now, after thinking about it… if you are dreaming of chipping the ball in, this is a very positive thing.
Recently, I have only be playing one game/week, and in the past week I have had a couple of 10-minute breaks from the computer, and have walked over to the lawn to have a stretch and hit a few chip-shots with my “stretching club” – my trusty, Titliest DCI 8-iron, circa 1994 (actually, my 2-iron from that same set is still in the bag!..my secret weapon for tight par fours where one must thread the ball up the fairway).
(The back lawn is 3 yards away from me; I work on a deck…I know, tough, but someone has to do it!)
The chipping (on the lawn) has felt better than it has for decades (literally decades); I feel like a cocky 12 year old again (or nearly).
Here is why…
Good chips for me are coming down to three main points:
- Ball position: I have been keeping the ball back just behind the low point where the club hits the ground
- I in-vision what type of shot I will play, this includes what type of ball flight I want low, mid height, or high. I set-up and use the hands appropriately – in response to what ball flight I want. Be creative, hit hook-chips, cut chips, high and low ones. Look and see where the ball will land and where it will roll to (not intently, just a quick focus). [Just in…was on the 8-iron once again, hitting flop-shots over a mobile cloths hanger with the 8-iron…”My body gets into a position, and the hands and arms work in response to the height I want the ball to travel at”].
- Practise regularly, but not too much. For the more “mature golfer” – as 95% of my readers are (me included), too much focus/practise builds anxiety and fear (too little is careless and lazy). Do some practise then DO NOT think about golf.
Consistency and improvement – a work in progress
I have been focused on the above points, not for a week or two, try about 18 months. Practice once or twice/week for 10-20 minutes, then, work on another part of your game.
So, consistent attention to this part of my game (not too much – but enough), has left me with the killer attribute for excelling at any skill: confidence; hence the “subconscious dream chip-in”.
I hope you grabbed a couple of points to takeaway and work on from this article. Get your fundamentals correct (set up and ball position) then have some fun, hit different types of shots with different releases (with the wrists).
If you want to dig deeper and practice the right things to make you more confident with your chips, pitches and bunker shots, take a look at me explain – via video, my Build a Better Shortgame training course, here.