An observation that will help your chipping.

I made a huge observation chipping the other day that will make better chippers of all of you. First a LINK to the post I did on chipping, read it, watch it, then I will stress something that was more important than I realized.

First off, I have what I call the “Vacuum Cleaner” feel. That means I might as well be chipping with a vacuum cleaner as my LW for how bad my feel is. I am glad I only have a 1 day tournament (US Open Qualifying in 2 weeks) coming in the near future as I will have to hit 18 greens in regulation and/or make 10 footers every hole, unless my feel improves soon.

My issues with mediocre chipping aside, I witnessed the main thing that causes bad chipping. While I was struggling with my bad feel, I noticed I could still whiff the ball up there around the hole even when I didn’t hit it crisply. I watched the seven other golfers on the chipping green and noticed they were lucky to get one out of ten in a range where you would consider it makeable.

Why was this? I know at least two of these golfers are at the course every day. Why is chipping in most golfers so bad. As the post and video I linked above stated, there are usually some setup and perception issues, but I wasn’t clear enough on the BIG one.

Bad chippers don’t do something I always did naturally without thinking and it’s what allowed me to get the ball around the hole even with horrible feel. Bad chippers don’t keep their shoulders rotating through and past impact. They “hit” at the ball. As a matter of fact, most of them looked like they stopped their shoulder turn on purpose it was so bad.

Watch Tiger. He may be a bad husband but he is the best short gamer I have seen. He looks like he almost has too much shoulder rotation past the ball. Not a coincidence and it is a major reason why he is so good.

This is also why my swing is out of sync and my chipping is not as good as it once was. I stopped just making a shoulder turn and started to try and manufacture “correct positions” and that made my shoulder turn stall at times and get out of sync with the rest of my body.

I hit wedges the next day…it’s too much arms and hands right now…relative to what it should be for a world class golfer. In fast motion it doesn’t look terrible, but it didn’t feel good. My lower body is stagnant because my shoulder turn isn’t in control as much as it should be.

This is a lot of introspection about my own feels, but it boils down to something I have said a lot and my students are probably sick of hearing. Put the control in the shoulder turn. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 20 foot chip or a 350 yard drive. That is where maximum efficiency lies. My shoulder turn is a bit choppy and isn’t as continuous as I would like it to be.

That is what I am going to work on today…and hope my lower body starts to link up with it better. If those things happen, my hands and arms won’t have such an easy time of getting me out of position. When I accomplish this, the club will release naturally and I will be a good golfer. Until that happens, I will be fun to watch at the driving range, but not yet ready for network television at 3 PM on Sunday. Actually, not even ready for 2 AM on The Golf Channel.




  1. mship99

    Monte – what drill do you do to link up or put the control in the shoulder turn?

    Excellent post by the way. Although I can’t stand the CBS announcers they were talking about this yesterday as one of the leaders was out of sync and relying on the hands and arms too much.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I like putting the shaft in front of my chest and practice rotating.

  2. Michael

    Hey Monte, I have a question about how you create spin around the greens, cause I can’t do it:

    Are you creating spin via your hands? Or via rotating your shoulders through the shot quickly? Or both?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Spin is created by contact. If you hit down on the ball and trap it, the ball spins. If you try and help it in the air, you won’t get any spin.

  3. exgolfer

    Hi Monte,
    one of the little moves many amateurs make is to move their head with the ball. Watching your video one can see that a lateral movement of the head is impossible for you to make. For us hackers it is the biggest contact killer there is. I politely suggest that you make watchers aware of this aspect of a balanced swing in further chipping or pitching videos. Otherwise, your video is flawless, as usual.

    Thanks, exgolfer from rainy Berlin

  4. Steve Bishop

    Not trying to hijack your wonderful viewers here Monte, but I did a little youtube video on chipping. It emphasizes ACCELERATION which I believe is exactly what you are talking about. You noticed the shoulder rotation, I notice the acceleration. So I put in a little drill in the video that should help.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Nice Steve. All input is welcome. This might be my blog, but I am not the sole authority on anything.

      • Steve Bishop

        Thanks Monte. It’s nice to know that you and I are on the same page with our observations of the golfing public at large.

  5. banner12


    What site are you playing the Open Q.?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Ironwood in Palm Desert. Made i there before and Newport Beach was closed already.

  6. geoff duncan

    I saw an interesting article by Utley recently. Can’t remember which magazine. Probably Golf or Golf Digest. It was more about pitching than chipping, but it stressed just what your talking about. Rotation. What I thought was interesting was his emphasis on being square to the ball. I’ve always been open. I have been trying it and I pitching it straiter.

  7. s.

    There is an unalterable rule of the Golf Swing:

    If you try to get too specific, especially to the point of naming specific body parts in your swing thoughts, sooner or later it will collapse like a house of cards.

    That being said, I am breaking my own rule by thinking about swinging from shoulder blades instead of shoulders…more of an “inside-moves-the-outside” idea, and let everything else react.

    It worked today. Ask me tomorrow.

  8. Tony Bumstead

    Thanks for all the good videos which I have found most helpfull in simplying my swing thoughts, but none so much as your latest thoughts on chipping. I have always been an inconsistant chipper and pitcher, but since trying to keep my shoulders rotating the improvements have been astounding.
    Thanks for all the interesting stuff: keep it coming nd all the best with 2nd round qualifying


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