Chip shots can help save you plenty of strokes around the green, which means plenty of shots off your score. If you’re having trouble on chip shots, try taking the squeeze off, says Paul Rudeen, the director of instruction at Ocean Edge Resort and a PGA Master Professional.
“Are you convinced that you’re channeling Roberto Duran every time you hit a chip shot? The ball rockets off the clubface with a mind of its own and the result is usually a putt of at least 20 feet. You scratch your head and go over your checklist: ‘Hands ahead, ball back in my stance, weight on my left foot, use the clubface to determine distance. What went wrong?’
“It’s probably true that Michelangelo didn’t use the death grip while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The muscles and tendons in your hands need to be in a relaxed state in order to achieve some semblance of control and feel. If you attached a grip meter to your hands while setting up for a chip shot, where a setting of 1 would equate to barely hanging on and 10 would be strangulation, feel as though you’re gripping the club at about a 4.5 setting. Set your hands at about a 3 for putting and 6.5 for the full swing. The average amateur grips three times tighter than professionals.
“Find a grip pressure that works for you and get the feel back in your swing.”Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.