Golf chipping tip by Doug Ford
Talking about hitting good wedge shots and actually going out on the course and hitting them are two different things. All the knowledge in the world won’t do you much good unless you can apply it.
I’m not underrating the theory of the wedge shot or any other part of the game. That’s what most of this book has been so far—theory. But golf goes farther than that. To score well, you must be a good competitor. You must hit that ball at the hole and, especially when using the wedge, as close to the hole as possible every time. You need the kind of desire that won’t be quenched when you hit a wedge shot to within ten feet of the cup. The next time knock it up there within five feet.
I highly recommend that you develop sound fundamentals and build as solid and fine a golf swing as you possibly can. But I also strongly suggest that you develop a “get tough” attitude toward the game. I mean, “get tough” inwardly. Be a perfect gentleman and sportsman on the outside, but be a fighter on the inside. When you’re pitching to a green, don’t ask yourself:
“Will I be able to get close to the pin? Or will I flub this shot and land in that sand trap between me and the green?”
Get tough. Tell yourself:
“I’m going to smack this little apple right up there next to the cup.”
If there is any doubt in your mind, you probably will swing with doubt. You might rush the takeaway, you might look up, you might quit on the shot and not follow through crisply.
If you develop a confident attitude, you’ll take the club away smoothly and deliberately, keep your head down, and swing smartly through the ball. Your attitude will be reflected in your swing. If you get tough with yourself— be a tiger—you’ll be tough to beat.
Many good golfers who didn’t have the best swings in the world have made up for it by being the best competitors. You can’t beat the combination of a good swing and a good competitor. And if there is any part of the game of golf where touch, feel and positive attitude can compensate for a less-than-perfect swing, it’s in the short game. Once you’re in scoring range, get that ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. It isn’t “how” that counts, it’s “how many.”
How often have you heard the sad story of a fine swinger who reported that he hit 15 or 16 greens in regulation but took 39 putts on the 18 greens and wound up with a 78 instead of the 72 he might have had? Or the guy who took three or four strokes to get down every time he got within wedge distance of the green, thus adding five or ten strokes to his score?
WARM UP WITH THE WEDGE
When warming up for a round I suggest that a golfer hit wedge shots if he doesn’t have time for anything else. You can’t beat practicing with a wedge. Two or three pitch shots and two or three bunker shots will give you a feel of hand position and enable you to grasp your timing much quicker than anything else. I’d rather hit six bunker shots than ten drivers before going out to play.
Then, once on the course, don’t experiment with your swing. Just hit one shot at a time, to the best of your ability, and concentrate on getting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. You should improve your swing on the practice range but, on the course, you should only worry about improving your score.
By all means, don’t look back and don’t look too far ahead. A double bogey on the previous hole can’t be erased.
And, when you’re standing in the fairway getting ready to hit your wedge to the green, don’t start thinking about whether or not you’ll make the putt. You play only one shot at a time, and you want to play it 100%. Just concentrate on hitting the wedge up close to the pin. You’ll have several minutes in between to concentrate on the putt. But thinking about the putt while hitting the wedge shot will only hurt the latter.
Above all, remember to play with desire, determination and confidence. Sure, you’ll hit bad shots. Golf is a relative game. The less you have progressed, the more shots you’ll hit poorly. A newcomer will hit so many bad shots that it will be quite frustrating to him. But he should take this in stride and remain determined and confident. It’s just a matter of time before he will be hitting 90% of his shots well instead of 10%. Learning to play golf properly is a matter of time, patience and endurance. The more you play, the better you will get.
It’s a long hard path. I would certainly hate to have to start all over again. Luckily for me, I began golfing while still a small boy. But many have taken up the game late in life and within a few years have become excellent players.
The main thing is not to become discouraged. It’s a wonderful game and a “pleasant walk in the country” whether you score well or not. And you’ll always score better if you take that “tiger” attitude I am talking about. Don’t be a kitten on the course—be a tiger.