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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Short Game Tip from Bill Harmon

Golf Digest has a new article with some thoughts from instructor Bill Harmon about Tiger's game at the Hero. And he had a short game tip that I found very informative.

Tiger from the bunker

There was a lot of talk about Tiger's chipping last week, and much of it was a debate over whether his occasional problems were the result of yips. Harmon says no, it's bad technique where his club shaft had too much forward lean at impact.

We've all heard this before, right? But Harmon provided a simple drill to help get things back in sync:
If you tend to dig the leading edge in behind the ball on basic short game shots, narrow your stance and practice taking the club back halfway and coming to a complete stop. Then, without manipulating your hands to change the plane of your swing or making a big lateral shift, let the clubhead swing down to the ball. If it makes contact behind the ball, it usually means you're pulling the club behind you too much on the backswing.
Pay close attention to that last sentence. Pulling the club too much to the inside during your takeaway causes your downswing to come into the impact zone on a very flat angle. In high rough, that means you'll get a lot of grass between the ball and the clubface. On a tighter lie, the clubhead gets very close to the ground much sooner in the downswing, which will cause you to hit the ground sooner.

And in both cases, the shaft will be leaning toward the target when you contact the ball. You want the shaft to be nearly vertical at impact, in order to use the bounce on the club's sole.

Narrowing your stance helps you stay more stable over the shot, so you don't move forward as much at impact. That forward movement just gets your hands farther ahead of the clubhead, which makes the digging worse. And stopping your backswing completely helps eliminate any compensations you might be using that further flatten your downswing.

It's a simple drill to help simplify your chipping motion. And the simpler it is, the more likely you are to make a good chip.

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