by Paul Jones
Whether it be putting, chipping, pitching or a full swing, it’s important to understand that the length of the swing must remain the same for both the back swing and the follow-through.
When chipping, the distance of the shot will be shorter than a full shot. Therefore, the width of stance, grip position and weight shift assist in both controlling the length of the ball’s flight and ensuring a solid contact (See Photo 1).
The Back Swing
With putting, chipping and, to a large extent, pitching, the movement of the lower body is virtually non-existent. The reason is because we don’t require the distance and power that comes from the weight transfer during the back swing.
In the case of chipping (see Photo 2), the length of the swing determines the distance covered.
For example, if a full swing with a pitching wedge is 80 meters, then according to the photo, the distance of the shot would be approximately 20 to 30 meters due to the quarter-length back swing.
The impact position with putting, chipping and pitching is similar in that the body weight remains stable. In addition, the position of the hands is forward at impact with little or no use of wrist or hand movement in lifting the ball.
Note: In all cases, when you want the ball to lift, the club head should sweep through the ball and the turf through impact. The “loft concept,” in which you try to lift the ball, is incorrect.
As is the case with the back swing position, the follow-through position is almost identical in length. However, it is important to note that, in most cases with professionals, as opposed to amateur golfers, follow-through is actually longer than the length of the back swing.
Beginner golfers should try to keep a balanced swing but also try to emulate the pro golfer’s swing. Hands and wrists should remain passive (no wrist usage or breakdown), and the body should slightly rotate due to the increased swing length.
The swing gets longer for pitching, half swings and full swings, and body rotation for both back swing and follow-through is required for greater power and to assist with control.