ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chipping with Your Knees

Yes, I'm talking about knees again -- this time, in reference to chipping. This is a new piece by teacher Pomp Braswell, who teaches at one of Jim McLean's schools. You'll want to check out this brief article at This photo is from that article.

Staying low when chipping

Essentially, this article focuses on the importance of keeping your knees flexed when you chip. If you have trouble hitting your chips consistently, you need to make sure you're keeping your knee flex consistent throughout the stroke.

I write a lot about knee flex because it's one of those things that everybody seems to know about, yet to which nobody gives much serious attention. Knee flex is important in every swing you make, not just when you chip. You need to keep a consistent level during your swing if you want to make solid contact, and that means keeping your knee flex consistent throughout the swing.

There may be a few of you who drop too much when you start down, but the vast majority of you straighten your knees. Maybe you're trying to help the ball up; maybe you lack some flexibility and just don't turn fully into your finish; maybe you're just swinging too hard. But whatever the reason, if you straighten your knees during your stroke, you'll probably mis-hit the ball.

And while I shouldn't have to say this, I will: If your playing partners or you yourself end up saying, "You're lifting your head. You need to keep your head down," then you are straightening your knees during your downswing. It's a rare bird indeed who straightens his back without straightening his knees.

Let me repeat myself: If you think you're lifting your head or otherwise losing your posture during your swing, check your knee flex. It's a fairly simple problem to fix, and I can give you links to two posts on this very blog to help you. Here's the "basketball drill" and here's the "rolling ankle drill." Between the two of them, you'll learn to stay level during your chipping... and your whole swing.


  1. I would argue that the right knee should remain in the position of address in chipping but the the left knee can be a valuable source controlling club face momentum if it slightly compresses in the "chip take away" and then is used to "regulate" the club face speed during the forward follow-through by regulating the speed of a slight left knee extension that occurs as the club face approaches impact. Provided that the chip address position is with the club grip in a position forward to the ball and provided that the objective is that that forward hand position is maintained during the follow-through.
    The objective is for the club face impact the ball first rather that the grass that is behind the ball.

    1. And David, I wouldn't argue with you. I don't believe that there's only one way to chip; every body — that is, each person's body — is different, and their knees will move different amounts. I think the important thing is that you can perform the movement consistently and — yes — that you “hit the little ball before the big one.”

      My concern in this post was with that unintentional “standing up” that far too many players do, straightening their knees so they don't return the clubhead to hit the ball at the same level where they addressed it. That's different from the small motion you refer to, which is caused by the rotation of the hips on the slightly inclined plane created when you lean forward at address. I'm talking about loosing your spine angle during the downswing. So I don't think we're in disagreement at all.