Chipping 4.0

by: B. J. Hathaway


If your drives are not getting out there with your buddies or your irons are short and weak, the best way to gain distance is not expensive clubs but rather getting back to basics like the chip shot.  Having studied great ball strikers, we see one common trait no matter how different the swing style- a flat lead wrist and bent trail wrist at impact.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we see high handicap golfers are exactly the opposite with a bent lead wrist and flat trail wrist. This leads to erratic contact, lost power and accuracy issues. Want to be more consistent and gain some distance? Welcome to Chipping 4.0.

The challenge of Chipping 4.0 is to create proper impact conditions, which simply means the location and form of the hands and club shaft after a properly struck golf shot.  At the follow through position where the hands have passed the front leg and both arms are straight, you want to see a flat lead wrist, bent trail wrist and the shaft angle close to vertical with most of your body weight on the front leg.

Much like college, your goal is to get a 4.0 chipping GPA by grading every chip shot at the follow through position.

4.0= A

3.0= B (slight loss of wrist angle)

2.0= C (more loss of angle)

1.0= D (loss of angle and weight on rear leg)

0   = F (a complete failure)

Practice chips in sets of 10 balls with the goal of achieving a 4.0 GPA. As you practice this game not every shot needs to be perfect for contact or distance control, the real aim is to create those solid impact positions and grade every shot. When you learn to get all A’s you will not only reduce scores around the green but also bridge the gap between the short and long game and increase your percentages of solid shots which leads to more distance.


Scooping makes it hard to hit long irons and drives with much power. You can still hit a reasonable chip by scooping but by the time you get to longer irons and driver your game will suffer. As your chipping improves your long game improves.

Hit chips and after every shot hold your follow through, freeze it and give it a grade. We want all A’s.

The key is to freeze your follow-through and give it a grade. If you can truly get all A’s, that’s the fastest way to hit longer drives. 


B. J. Hathaway is the owner of Augusta Golf Instruction and author of “Master of Chipping: Short Game Lessons from Augusta” on