Chipping and Pitching Same as Full Swing | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Chipping and Pitching Same as Full Swing

Tue, 07/09/2013 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

A couple weeks ago, I talked about Kenny Knox's chipping and pitching techniques. The reason why I first reached out to Kenny is because his short game philosophy falls in line with what I teach in the long game. 

J. Periman wrote in to ask if he needs to change his swing when he's around the green chipping and pitching. He suggested that keeping the same swing for all shots would make golf a lot easier. He's right, and I'll tell you why!

Don,

I have a question about chipping. When I chip, I take the club back to the catcher's mitt and then chip the ball and follow through. Should I open the club to the catcher's mitt like the PPGS swing or keep it straight on the back swing and forward swing? Would it not be better to keep the swing the same on all shots? It's hard enough to do one swing. To try and master 3 or 4 different swings would be impossible.

J. Periman

The answer to Mr. Periman's question is absolutely yes! The ball doesn't know who is holding the club, just like it doesn't know what club you're swinging. If you were to take the club straight back, you're actually bringing it back shut. Since there's no rotation, you're basically going to come straight down and be steep on the ball because your hands aren't level.

Your palms must be perpendicular to the ground. You still want to go back into the catcher's mitt toe up and into the forward mitt toe up. If I need to hit the ball lower, I'll put the ball back in my stance and get a little more forwrad, but I'm still going to maintain my rotation so I can square up and hit the ball solidly. This way, the ball will react properly when it hits the green.

A golf swing is a golf swing is a golf swing! Even on chip and pitch shots, you want to follow the same basic rules that apply to the full swing. You still need the club to rotate through.

Keep it vertical and knock it close!

The Surge

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Comments

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

I've perfected a chip & run shot over the last few years which has saved me heaps of shots, that is I keep the club face square to the line going back and forward. I know this is contrary to Surge's teachings, but years back when I couldn't chip for nuts, spent hours & hours on a technique that got results. Consequently I have many people approach me during practise and ask what club I use and how I do what I do, my answer is always the same, lock my wrists, square club face, limited back swing, accelerate through the ball, don't vary the shot but vary the club to maintain consistency. This technique is limited to fringe play and or chip/run over a flat fairway, although I can use it for getting over greenside bunkers. from 50+M out I would go back to a normal swing and use lob wedges.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Seems that the same swing could and maybe should be used for both but I find there is a subtle change as we go from a normal full swing from 100 yards plus to those pitches of 90-50 y and then chipping from 50 y in and then from the fringe. I say subtle because there is very little difference between my pitch shot swing and my full tilt driver swing. But as I get closer to the green it becomes even more important in keeping the lower body quiet and I use less and less body turn back and through while using the gap wedge and 56* in that 90-50 zone. From 50y to with in say 10 feet from the green I am now very similar to what both Neil and David are speaking of. For me, when it becomes a bump off the fringe is normally the only time my grip and method are like a putt. Otherwise my grip stays the same from driver thru wedges. Now having said that I keep my body quiet and use mostly an arm swing from 90-50/40 yards, I too have adapted the Gary Pinns method that David refers to for the 40-5 yard chips. I have found that it requires less practice and I chipped some close and in the the hole from the time I started using it around three months back. It really keeps the club head square and on on on better than any open and close method I've ever used. Now if I would practice more I think that using Don's way and recommendation of one swing and the same swing for all would work for me. I choose to play more rather than practice, especially in theses 110* days here in the desert. Perhaps this fall I will again be able to dedicate the practice time needed to get the touch needed for toe up to toe up with short pitches and chips. Mean while I chip at least one in nearly every week and get most others with in 5 feet. Can't argue against results.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

Perhaps if you kept your lower body as still during your driver swing as you do during a 100 yard wedge shot, you'd hit more fairways. Just a thought. ;-)

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

It is certainly true that keeping my body quieter produces more accuracy and rarely gives up distance. It seems it is a lesson that i have to learn again and again. The tendency to over swing get's me into more trouble. Surge commented along time ago that some times golfers do better there first few holes because the are not too loose yet. After we are warmed up and have more flexibility and range of motion it becomes easier to over swing past 3/4's and into the SBG. Ironic. So as my round progresses I have to remind myself to slow down, keep it 3/4's going back and not over turn left in the FUS. Good advise Mr. Fleck. How are your old sticks treating you? have you been getting out and playing a bit?

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I'm not getting out for much golf right now. A lot of stuff in life not exactly going according to plan right now. But I did get out today. Boy was it a mixed bag, just like the weather I played through. When I headed to the course, It was hot and sunny. By the time I got to the first tee, white clouds had formed and were cutting out the worst of the sun's heat. On the third tee, heavy drops of rain started falling and there was even lightning way in the distance. The rain stopped by the time I got to the fourth tee, but the clouds and breeze stuck around until I got to 7, after which the wind died and the clouds broke up and the heat came back.

In my round, I hit beautiful drives on the first two holes (par 5 first, short par 4 second where I drove the ball into the neck of the fairway 10 yards short of the green, dead center between the bunkers on either side), hit the first three greens in regulation but two-putted for pars. Then the fourth hole I wandered all over for a double-bogey on the second par 5, hit a ball in the water on the fifth after a wild drive but managed to make bogey with a fabulous pitch short-sided over a bunker. And so on. Made my only birdie on the tenth hole, with zero putts that hole, with an absolutely perfect bunker shot, but the bunkers got revenge later when I completely chunked a long bunker shot on 15 and ended up having to hit another. On the 18th I hit my approach shot long and left from a steeply uphill, ball below my feet lie when I thought I'd better not let it go right because of the pond there. Then hit an absolutely beautiful pitch out of the thick grass back there that rolled out to a foot past the hole for an easy par--with the club teaching pro looking on while he was working with a young boy at the edge of the 18th green.

Some holes I looked and felt like I knew exactly what I was doing, and some holes I looked like somebody's drunk cousin on his first visit to a golf course.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

My chipping method sounds similar to yours, but I also do a few things that you didn't mention. I use my putting grip and stroke to eliminate wrist action, have an open foot stance with shoulders parallel to the line, hands ahead of the ball which is back of centre of a not too narrow stance, and most of the weight on the front foot at address. It is very important. for me. to ensure solid contact, that the left elbow leads the downstroke.

All of my pitches, have at least the feeling of a straight back, straight through stroke and are very straight and usually close if the right club is selected. The key for me, is maintaining the club shaft angle in the same plane as it was at address, through the backswing and through swing.

I pitch with every club up to a 5 hybrid using the " Gary Pinns" method. He describes his method for 10 to 30 yard pitches, but it is also great for hitting low straight shots out of trouble, because it eliminates wrist action. My course has a lot of tree trouble on it and it would be tough for me to break 80 on it without this very handy, " Miracle" shot.

I was able to hit 3 miracle shots today, that saved at least 6 strokes and made breaking 80 easy. Even with the Surge swing, mistakes happen sometimes and being able to scramble well, can be the most fun part of the game.

The first shot involved hitting a shot less than 4 feet high under a willow with my 5 hybrid and skipping the ball over an 80 yard pond up the far bank and 4 feet from the hole for a par.

The second shot was about 125 yards and had to be low and straight, to get through trees and be hit hard enough to bounce up the slope of a 40 foot elevated green to just below the pin.

The third shot enabled me to save boggy from another impossible place. This time the ball was way below my feet and a deliberate very low running slice from 75 yards, with a 7 iron around trees and a bunker, was required to end up on the green.

PS. Neil, I don't know if you get the " Golf Channel ", but on " Morning Drive" this morning, they had a very pretty, Lauren Thompson doing a version of the butt against the wall drill for maintaining posture throughout the swing. Her arms were crossed with a hand towards each shoulder while in the address position and the idea was to rotate the lower body so that the right glute touched the wall in the backswing and the left glute touched the wall in the through swing. I shall " forever" think of this, as the Lauren Thompson drill. I got a few weird looks, when I did this drill on the golf course, a few times, between shots. Hahaha!
,

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Dave, read your description and I believe we are identical, I didn't list all the things that you described, but none the less do exactly the same. To me, fringe chipping is like putting, ie we all have a system that works for us, unlike the long game where we must stick with the PPGS basics.

Is there a video on Lauren Thompson, would love to see what you are describing.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Little off subject but on GC, Michael Breed and then on Morning drive they were commenting on Inbee Park's golf swing and while they are certainly correct that her rhythm and tempo are excellent and are the same with each club they only gave a passing comment that her swing is very upright. Talk about avoiding the elephant in the room. Speaking of "butt" on the wall and Lauren Thompson I thought y'all might appreciate this photo:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mG5PzZEsJGY/UNDHtUzn4EI/AAAAAAAAApk/Uli03sVA7B...

The other gal that never gets enough TV time on the golf channel and I would like to replace Lara B. is Win McMurry
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.445449.1314592258!/img/httpI...

Did you all catch the photos in ESPN of Scottish golfer Carly Booth and Gary Player.
Gary, really? I'll spare you his pic.

http://www.golfchannel.com/media/carly-booth-photo-gallery/#1

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I was just reading the piece in Global Golf Post about the reaction from the men about Inbee Park's success (or lack of reaction in most cases). They nicely embarrassed one guy who's response to "What do you think about Inbee Park?" was "Sorry, I've never played there."

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

She is a regular on the show, who was demonstrating a golf specific exercise exercise for " Joey D," a golf fitness guru for several top young PGA players. If you google" Joey D golf," he has an interesting DVD that may include this exercise.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

DJ is playing in the John Deer. He tees off at 9:40 am on Thursday morning.

Edit:
Thursday update
DJ had a tough start with two boges but finished well with a couple of balancing birds. Even par 71 after day one. Guessing he'll need a 70 or better to make the cut Friday.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Robert, Will be watching it and wish DJ a great game. It will be a squared eyed DH and wife this weekend. Tonight our time is the start of the Scottish Open from Castle Stuart, Inverness. Coincidencidently where I stopped smoking and took up golf and bought my first golf clubs EXACTLY 38 years ago! Where one of my daughters was born. So many happy memories of that place. So forgive me for once for putting DJ on the back burner for once ; - ) Oh! and there's also In Bee Park playing too. Yeeeha!
Have a great weekend and hit 'em long and straight. DH

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Was checking the time in NZ. You're 17 hours in the future from us here on the west coast USA. Scotland is 8 hours ahead. So it's 4 am in NZ and like most mature folks you and your lassy are likely getting up on what will be Friday morning in a couple of hours. I've always thought that the time zones to be fascinating.

Where the time line is in the south pacific there is a full 24 hour difference. One could celebrate the new year get over their hang over and celebrate it again 24 hours later by crossing westward say from Russia to Alaska or Fiji to Samoa.

http://www.worldtimezone.com/

May be deja vu but I think we've discussed this before.

Back to golf. Phil's looking good in Scotland just two off the lead after round one and In Bee Park is cruising along at -5 after 9 holes this morning. Not to mention the Senior Open and John Deer which are under way too.

Thanks for sharing your back ground in Scotland. Again fascinating life you've had thus far DH. We've had a bit of rain here in the desert (thank God) as the fires have continued to burn up much of our mountain forest only a few mile out of Las Vegas. Let's pray for more rain today and tomorrow.

BTW. Good morning DH. May you and your wife have a lovely Friday!

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

We are indeed ahead of the pack down here Robert. A pain when watching European golf events, but those in the US are easier. Up early and watching them until around 10-30am local time. Golf in the Far East is OK,ie, China and Korea around 5hours behind us. Praying for rain for you and the fire fighters. Then perhaps it will leave us for a while ; - ) Due to do so around Wednesday next week : - ) Please, pretty please. May you and your good lady wife have a much better Friday golf and weather wise. No let up here so far today.
Scotland and the pictures of the Moray Firth brought back happy times. Reading the names of places in golf news and how they are pronounced brought a smile to my face. I could just imagine American commentators trying to pronounce them. Auchtermuchty for instance or Auchterader [Best fish and chips in UK in my day ; - ] DH

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Did see highlights on Golf Channel

We are about 8 hours behind our brethren in the UK so they play when it's 2am-6am here and I only see it live if I get up in the weeee hours. Hope to see some replay of the Scottish but will likely get myself up early for the Open next week.

Cindy and I play a different course today. It is a short but challenging 3,700 yard par 58 with 18 holes. 14 par threes and 4 par 4's. A real tester for the short game and a relief for Cindy who enjoyed the shorter holes. They had 4 sets of tees and because it was rainy and few souls were on the grounds we often hit two balls from two different tees each. So some holes I'd have a 180 yard drive and a 155 yard drive. Lots of fun and great practice for the short game. Best part was they allowed walking (we used our pull carts) and it was only $10 each - a summer after noon special.

Glad your enjoying your watch of the Scottish links and fond memories.

jayzo's picture

Submitted by jayzo on

Dear Don;
Just a couple of days ago, I come across "Square to Square" swing method will get 20 yards more. And it shows 3/4 turn and square club head, and with 8 more videos to see.
I am wodnering have you ever knwon this; it is by Doug Tewell many times tour winner. I enjoy your daily videos, Sincerely, Jay Zo

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

It has been discussed any number of times, though I understand that you may not have seen the discussions. The primary similarities between the swings are only in limiting the turn and the idea of a square club face on-on-on through the impact zone. In most other respects, Doug Tewell's swing is basic rotational swing theory.