Chipping problems plague golfers of all levels at times, ask Tiger Woods and Martin Kaymer.
Within the amateur game, poor technique can be a big reason for bad chipping, as can, not enough practice. Making a poor club choice for the shot at hand is another reason. However for the golfers mentioned above, poor technique is not at fault.
So if the technique is not the issue, what is?
Its the golfers nerves.... and specifically being nervous about hitting the ground before the ball.
If the picture of this lie gives you the jitters.
.... but this type of lie doesn't quite so much then there is some uncertainty in your mind, and any uneasiness will affect how your motor function performs..
During many months of chipping practice my results were sketchy to say the least. I would be chipping and short pitching nicely when out of the blue.... a 'duff' would come along.
I could feel the uneasiness creep up on me, it began to envelope me. I could feel myself 'wishing' to hit a few good ones in a row so my confidence could increase, so I could just get on with the task of feeling for distance or defining the landing spot.
I realised how important it is for me to be able to concentrate on the landing area of the chip, and then judge the roll of the ball to the hole. I found I was unable to fix my focus on the specifics of the shot when I was anxious about contact. It was as if my shot making process was covered by a layer of uncertainty .
'I could feel the uneasiness creep up on me'
I began to dabble with technique. I usually set the wrists back and hold them that way in the forward swing, but I found myself trying out other actions that I had read about. I tried to hit stiff wristed and that didn't go well either.
I found myself doing what I had done for so many years with full shots.
I was preoccupied with what my arms were doing, or my knees, or my weight distribution. I was thinking about the postion of my wrists at contact, and I also tried different grips. I tried different ball positions, all in the hope that something would click. This is not a nice way to try and improve. So often mood wasn't good on my way home.
I typed 'golf nerves' into google and got 650,000 results. This was just crazy, I had to do something. I thought maybe I should think about the problem from another angle.... but what and how? I knew I wasn't feeling comfortable so I thought about my emotions, what was I feeling and why was I feeling it? I realised I was nervous, uncertain and urgent even.
I was afraid I would hit the ground before the ball. I didn't want to duff the shot so much that there seemed to be a dense 'nervous' cloud that I couldn't get beyond. All this uncertainty wouldn't allow me to concentrate solely on the specifics of the shot.
The real reason was staring me in the face, hidden in plain sight so to speak.
If I dont hit the ground, I dont duff the shot.
All I did was hit the ball a bit higher up, just below the equator. The natural path of the club was in an arc downward anyway. I tried not to hit the ground, I didn't even want to brush the grass, and when I got it wrong, and did hit the ground it was beyond the ball, which was perfect.
I also realised I have 1cm margin for error, which was the distance from just below the equator of the ball to the ground itself.
I realised I cant duff chips and short pitches if I dont hit the ground.
p.s and I only thinned a few:-)
There is no 'mindfulness' with this task, we dont need to be consciously present, or in tune with the process, because there is hardly any reasoning input needed...............unless!....read more!