How To Stop Chunking Chip Shots (5 Tips)


Struggling with your chip shots?

Standing over your shots in fear of hitting the chip shot fat and chunking it only 2 feet or even worse into the bunker?

Do not fear, we have all been there before.

The good news is that we have 5 tips to help you improve the quality of your strike and help turn the fear or the short game into a potential strength!

Golf is a complicated game, but even the best golfers have hit poor shots.  Just recently, I saw Colin Morikawa chunk a chip shot that went into the bunker.  He made bogey and moved onto the next hole.

How To Stop Chunking Chip Shots

There are 5 tips to help you stop chunking chip shots.  They include:

  • Set up properly to the ball
  • Use the bounce
  • Keep your speed constant
  • Right hand under
  • Build confidence

Before we dive into the 5 tips, let’s first clarify what causes the chunk shot.  The bottom line is that the golf fails to control the low point of the short golf swing, resulting in a situation where the club hits the ground before the ball.  Oftentimes, the golfer is using too much leading edge and there is little room for error, causing a disastrous and embarrassing shot that most golfers have hit before.

Some of the causes of the chunk shot result from 1) using the leading edge, 2) the golfer speeding up or slowing down too rapidly or 3) a lack of confidence leading to tentativeness in the chipping motion.

Time to dive in and provide some clarity on the tips listed above.

Spend plenty of time around the practice green to improve quickly! Build your confidence through repetition and fun drills!

Tip #1: Set up properly to the ball

The golfer will want to keep the setup as neutral as possible.  The ball should be just ahead of the center of the stance with the hands fairly equal to the ball.  A golfer gets in trouble when the hands push too far ahead of the ball.  

This brings the leading edge into play, which can be troublesome for many amateurs.  It takes extra precision in the low point that many amateur golfers don’t have the time to practice enough.

Once you get into a proper setup the golfer just wants to take the club far enough and return to this similar setup position at impact, but continue the follow through past impact.

Struggling with the yips? Here are some helpful tips!

Tip #2: Use the bounce and envision the shot

You want to use the bounce to expand your margin of error.   You want to see the club sliding underneath the ball with the club continuing on past the ball to a balanced finish position.  Being able to visualize the club just nipping the ground and continuing through will be essential to success.  

The golfer that chops at the ball and uses the leading edge is going to struggle.  Instead, you want to have the club slide underneath and use the bounce on the club to maximize your margin of error with your low point control on the chip shot.

The bounce will give your 2-3 inches of error compared to using the leading edge, which requires near perfection, especially on certain grasses or playing conditions.

11 golf drills for chipping

Tip #3: Keep your speed constant

When a golfer gets nervous or anxious over a chip shot, they will frequently speed up too much through the shot. This causes the hands to move too far past the clubhead, which brings the leading edge into play, reducing the margin for error.  

This often results in chunked shots or simply too much speed on the shot as a result of the nervous and anxious feelings.  Instead, feel like you keep the speed constant through the shot.  Of course, there will be some extra speed as you start the downswing, but the feeling should be a constant control of the speed all the way to the finish.  

Slowing down or speeding up is a recipe for a chunked or really poor chip shot.

How to practice chipping at home (8 drills)

Tip #4: Right hand under

One additional thought you can have or feel is the right hand staying under or making a soft under hand like toss with the right hand or the left hand for a lefty golfer.  It is similar to tossing a ball to someone standing about 10 feet in front of you.  

This helps you maximize the use of the bounce and maintain or add loft through the shot.  Once again, our goal is to increase the margin for error and this motion helps do that.

Using the bounce when chipping

Tip #5: Build confidence

One of the keys to anything in golf is practicing enough so that when you take your game to the course, you are able to have confidence in the shots that a round of golf demands from you.  It is almost guaranteed that you will hit at least 5-6 chip shots per round.  

The short game is essential to your success and one of the fastest ways to improve your scores is to get really good at chipping the ball.

My favorite game at the practice green to build confidence and build up some pressure like situations in the short game is found directly below.

  • Take one golf ball
  • Pick one random hole on the practicing green
  • Hit the chip shot
  • Go try to make the putt
  • Track how many times out of 10 you can successfully hit one chip shot and make the one putt.
  • Track over time to measure your progress

The goal with this game is to hit as many shots inside of 3 feet to make the one putt as simple as possible.

22 Golf Practice Games

When you build confidence with your chip shots, your approach shots always seem easier!

Alternative Chipping Grip: Use a Split Grip

You might think I am crazy, but you have to give it a shot.  Several weeks ago, I was chipping some wiffle balls in my basement and started to mess around with different grips with chipping.  

My thought process was the many different grips used for putting on the PGA Tour.  You have back handed grips, you have golfers using the claw, you have belly putters, long putters, etc.  If speed is not an issue with many chip shots, why do we have to default to a traditional grip when chipping?

So I placed my left hand at the end of the golf club towards my midsection and my right hand right before where the grip ends.  So my right hand remained lower than my left hand, but there was a significant gap between my two hands.

How to use a 60 degree wedge

I started hitting chips shots like this and found my mind at ease and the consistency was rather impressive.  However, my thought process was this might never work on a golf course.  So I practiced for the next week in my basement and then took it to my golf simulator set up in my garage and hit some quality chip shots.  The next stage was to use it during a round on my golf simulator and I passed that test.

Now I am thinking, can this really work on a golf course? 

Fortunately, during the month of December the weather was warm enough to play a round of golf.  I was anxious to attempt the split grip, chipping motion.  Of course I go out and hit the first 8 greens in regulation and on the 9th hole I hit in the bunker.  I used my normal grip out of the bunker.  I then hit the 10th green in regulation, but leave my 8 iron short on number 11.

Here we go!  It was a chip out of medium rough and I needed to carry the ball about 5 yards onto the green and another 7 or so yards of green was present.  I used my 60 degree lob wedge and chipped it perfectly and it rolled within two feet of the hole for a tap in par.  The next test had been passed.

On the very next hole, I hit a 130 yard wedge shot a bit short on the tight faraway approach area.  Can I pull this off from a tight lie.  I grabbed the 60 degree lob wedge again, placed it in the middle of my stanced, kept my motion simple and hit it within 1 foot.  The rest of the round, I had 2 other opportunities and was successful on 1 out of those 2 for a total of 3 out of 4 scrambling using the split grip.

When to use a 60 degree wedge

From where I will continue to practice and have used the following approach.

  • Keep your stance simple
  • Use 1 of 3 ball positions: back foot, middle of stance, front foot
  • Use the bounce on the middle and front foot swings.
  • Use a more aggressive swing with the ball on the back foot

I will continue to experiment and would encourage you to give it a shot!  What do you have to lose? If you struggle with the chipping yips, you might be willing to give anything a chance at this point!

Final Thoughts: Why might golfers fail with the split grip

The bottom line is that much of the chipping yips comes from fear of embarrassment.  There are plenty of golfers who can hit 30 great chip shots in a row around a practice green, but as soon as it matters and their friends or competitors are round, the worse comes out.

The golfers unwilling to put themselves out there, might be embarrassed to try this grip.  My recommendation if you fall into this camp is to take the following steps to give it a shot.

  • Practice around your house with wiffle balls
  • Take to your backyard
  • Take to the practice green
  • Take it to the course 

Make sure you build confidence and are willing to be proud of this approach!  When you start hitting chip shots within 3 feet, your golf buddies might start asking for help!

Did you know that professional golfers have struggled with the chipping yips.  Tiger Woods and Hal Sutton come to mind.  Be confident in what works for your game and compare it to the many different putting grips that are used.  

Adam Scott won the Masters with a long putter!  You can use a split grip on your chips at your local golf course on the weekend!  Be proud and hit some great shots!  Your mind will be at ease as your head to the course with great confidence that you can hit quality chip shots.

An amazing game changer is a launch monitor. See below for more details!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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