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Amen Corner: Vertical shaft will make gravity your friend

  • Using a more vertical shaft set-up for chipping, right, will enable you to use gravity to your advantage and limit the amount of club contact through grass while attempting to move your golf ball. (Courtesy photograph)

Special to the Valley News
Published: 7/31/2019 10:00:14 PM
Modified: 7/31/2019 10:00:04 PM

If you hold the grip end of a golf club by your fingers and lift the club head end so it’s now parallel to the ground, when you let go of the club head, gravity will immediately swing it and the shaft to vertical and under the grip side you are holding.

Setting up and chipping with the club more vertical will allow you to use more natural forces such as gravity to deliver the club and will help your ball striking and consistency.

When chipping, the farther the club head is out in front of you, the more you may battle natural forces and add unnecessary forces to deliver the club. On the downswing, if the club wants to return to a vertical position anyway, why fight it?

When setting up to chip with a wedge or 9 iron and the shaft more vertical, only the toe of the club will pass through the grass and touch the ground. This will benefit your ball striking because less material from the sole of the club will be interacting with the ground or longer grass.

Striking the ball with toe down and heel in the air really helps when the ball is in the rough or when the ball is sitting where the rough meets the fringe. The toe of the club creates a channel and cuts through the deeper grass with less resistance.

Also, when the heel of the club is off the ground, it will not get caught by the longer grass, which typically results in the club face closing too quickly and the leading edge digging into the ground. Either fate will cause big misses.

So don’t fight gravity. When faced with a chip in the rough, or on the fringe and up against the longer grass of the rough, set up with the club more vertical and use the toe of the club to your advantage. Gravity will win every time.

Peter Harris is the director of Golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column appears weekly in the Recreation page during the golf season.




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