In executing chip shots, many golfers think primarily about the action of the right arm. I have them concentrate on the left. It should hug the body and be kept straight. Then you don't have to worry about the right arm because, if the left is performing correctly, the right will have to function correctly, close to the body. This prevents shank shots. It's when the hands rove away from the body that the shank of the club meets the ball.
On the chip shot, the left arm pulls down. As you strike the ball, you should feel yourself hitting against the left arm, which acts as a brake for the right. At the bottom of the swing, as the ball is contacted, stop the hands sharply, but let the clubhead continue on through. This action gives you backspin without your having to labor at it.
This same method can be used for any chip shot from 10 to 70 yards off the green. Distance is regulated by the length of the backswing. You increase or shorten your backswing depending on how far you want to hit the ball. But whatever the distance, you stop the hitting action of your hands at the bottom of the swing and then let the clubhead swing through on its momentum alone.
from BILLY BURKE The Country Club, Cleveland
NEXT WEEK: BILL ROACH ON PUTTING BERMUDA GRASS GREENS