In this lesson, we’ll use what your kids have learned on the putting green to teach another essential golf skill – chipping. Contrary what you may think as an adult – the chipping stroke should be identical to a putting stroke, but simply with a club designed to get the ball in the air.
Okay, you may reach for your sand wedge whenever you’re off the green, but you shouldn’t assume your kid should as well. I would suggest you start with 9iron through to a 7iron. These club will get the ball rolling as soon as possible once it gets on the green, and this is actually the correct way to chip, and makes a nice transition from the putting lesson we previously learned.
Instruct your children that, just like putting you want to pretend like your arms are the pendulum on a grandfather clock. Tell them to practice this movement, but this time “brush the grass” in the process. Back and forth, back and forth. Once your child gets the hang of it, the rest should be pretty easy. Re-inforce that this is a short shot, that doesn’t require the club to go any higher than hip height – ever. Also, to help them envision how big of a stroke to make, ask them to show you how much of a stroke they would need to putt the ball to the whole. Tell them this is all they would need to chip it as well.
Place a ball in the center of their stance, and tell them to “sweep” the grass. This will take some practice, but the most important part is that they sweep the grass and follow-through. Dont let them simply dig the club into the ground – they will lose all control of the shot.
Try getting them to chip to different large targets – not just the cup. Bring out buckets and towels, and even give them points value have let them have some fun with it. Once you go through a bucket of balls, ask them to go pick them up with you (again re-inforcing proper etiquette.
Scooping the ball – this is usually caused by a very wristy stroke. Re-inforce the pendulum swing, and get them putting their weight on the front foot a bit to encourage a descending stroke into the ball.
Lifting their heads – tell them not to look at the ball until after they hear it land on the green.
Poor alignment – kids will often align themselves awkwardly, just be persistent.
Stiff Movement – Suggest they unlock or loosen their elbows.
Chunks or skulls – keep an eye on their ball placement in their stance, make sure its centered, and also make sure they are not dropping or lifting their heads during the stroke.
That’s it. Kids can easily learn this simple movement and its a natural progression from the putting green. Don’t bother teaching them pitching or sand at this point. The simpler the better, and this swing movement will help them to learn the proper full swing takeaway as well. Which we will be covering in the next lesson. Until then!