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Tips for Better Chipping and Pitching

Chipping and pitching, otherwise known as your "short game" (minus putting), is one of the three most important areas of golf (driving and putting being the others). In order to play a successful hole, or to make up for poor driving or long iron play, you must be able to chip and pitch the ball well.

The number one rule to remember when chipping and pitching is that the ball bounces and rolls after it hits the green (or first makes contact with the ground). Many golfers fail to take this into consideration and end up with a ball that goes far past the hole.

Different types of chips and pitches result in different types of bounces and rolls. A flop shot, for example, will have several bounces that are close together and will tend not to roll as much due to the shot's high arc. An 8 iron pitch from 30 yards out, on the other hand, will have several bounces spread much further apart and will tend to roll much further. The key is to understand what type of trajectory you will get from the combination of the club you are using and the type of lie you have.

Ultimately a chip or a pitch has two stages; the chip or pitch "in-the-air" phase, and the putt phase. After the ball makes contact with the ground and stops bouncing it in essence becomes a putt. Therefore you have to estimate where the ball will make contact with the ground, and where it will consequently roll.

Stages to a successful chip or pitch:

- Determine the club selection based on lie and line-of-site to the hole/green
- Determine the projection of the ball after contact (more of an arc? more of a line drive?)
- Select a spot on the green based on the estimated ball trajectory and where the ball will most likely roll after it stops bouncing
- Estimate swing strength needed to make the ball land on the selected spot
- Visualize the swing and begin

Keeping these suggestions in mind will help you to become much more accurate in your chips and pitches and will allow you to focus on the finer nuances of your short game and will hopefully leave you much shorter putts!

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