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Thursday, September 5, 2019

John Jacobs on Chipping Feel (Video)

No, it's not the legend. But this John Jacobs from Golf Monthly has a couple of drills that might help you to better judge distance when you chip.

That first drill -- let's call it the bowling drill because the arm motion is similar to throwing a bowling ball -- may or may not help you, but you should try it. Some players need a more mechanical trigger to develop feel, and this bowling drill is definitely all feel. I tend to make this motion when I'm trying to get a feel for a chip, but I used to bowl a lot during high school so it's a familiar motion for me.

John's clock face drill is far more similar to the technique Dave Pelz teaches and that I teach in my Accurate Iron Play Quick Guide. However, John is using more wrist flex than my book taught. I'm not against that, not by any stretch -- but whether it will work for you depends on how mechanical you need to be when developing your sense of feel.
  • Some players learn better if they don't flex their wrists much at all. That's a method that Lee Trevino swears by, and nobody ever accused him of having a poor short game!
  • Some players learn better if they use just a small amount of flex, which is my preferred method for normal chips.
  • And some players learn better if they use their wrists quite a bit when chipping. You can certainly learn to chip just as well that way as any other.
The thing with John's clock method and "looser" wrists -- if you choose to use that method -- is that he doesn't actually move his arms quite as much as he says. If you watch him closely, you'll see that his 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions are nearly identical and his 9 o'clock position is nowhere near parallel to the ground. But to him it FEELS as if his lead arm is in those positions, and that's the key you must remember:
His stated positions are not his actual mechanical positions, but rather how he feels them.
I wanted to pass this method on to you because, for some of you, this may be exactly what you need in order to improve your chipping. There is no one correct way to play golf but there is probably a way that works best for you, based on how you learn things most easily. Don't let anyone bind you to a mechanical method if a feel method gives you better results, or vice versa.

Don't be afraid to learn the way you learn best. Tailoring your game to your own natural abilities is how YOU will get better.

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