You’ve short-sided yourself, the ball is buried in thick greenside rough, and the pin is on a firm, fast downslope. You have to get the ball up, carry it just a couple of yards, and land it very softly. This is a shot which would terrify many professional golfers!
This is the ideal situation for a Pop-Chip. It’s not a shot that you will use very often, but when you do need it, it will save you at least one stroke.
The situation described above requires a shot with the following characteristics:
- An extremely steep angle of attack to strike the ball as cleanly as possible in the thick rough.
- Maximal loft to flight the ball high and land it as softly as possible.
- Very little power, just enough to carry the ball a short distance onto the green.
This is an unusual combination, and it requires significant alterations to your normal pitching and chipping technique.
Adjust your normal pitching and chipping setup as follows (see Figure 1):
- Widen your stance and splay your feet.
- “Sit down” by bending a little more at your knees and setting your weight into the front of your thighs (your quadriceps).
- Choke down on the club, all the way to the bottom of the grip.
- Lower your hands until they are just above knee-height.
- Open the club face by loosening your grip to let the shaft turn until the back of the club lays flat against the turf and then regripping with your usual pitching and chipping grip.
- Finally, lean into your lead thigh.
The wide, splayed stance will stabilise your lower body and take your hips out of action.
Leaning into your lead thigh will steepen the angle of attack.
Choking down on the club will create a smaller swing radius, and thus a steeper angle of attack, and also reduce the club head speed through impact, enabling you to swing more assertively without hitting the ball very hard. The worst thing you can do on these shots is to feel like you are going to hit the ball too far and so “quit” on the shot.
Opening the club face will create maximal loft so that the ball “pops” out of the rough, flies high and short, and lands softly.
To play the shot, lift the club head back steeply by using only wrist hinge (see Figure 2) – no arm, shoulder, chest or pelvis turn.
Now throw the club head down and under the ball by unhinging your wrists (see Figure 3) – again, zero hip and chest turn, and very little arm swing.
Stay down, keeping your weight on the front of your lead thigh throughout, all the way to the finish – see Figure 4.
The ball will “pop” up out of the rough with maximal loft and minimal carry.
This shot will take practice to gauge the amount of carry it will create in varying lies, but it’s actually very simple to play, and will be a great shot to have in your arsenal.
This article forms part of the Golf Loopy Pitch & Chip like a Champion series, the sensational new pitching and chipping game improvement system that will help you to improve every aspect of your performance around the greens. The improvements will be dramatic, and they will be permanent.