5 Chipping Drills to Improve your Short Game

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Louis Pringle
Apr 01, 2024
5 minutes

Your short game can be the key to unlocking a higher level of play on the course. The main difference between scratch players and double-digits handicappers is the quality of their short game. We previously provided you with helpful drills to perfect your putting skills, and now, we’re looking to recommend quality wedge drills that should help improve your abilities around the green.

Our in-house expert, Nick Drozdoski, who’s a Certified Professional for the PGA of Canada, has been helping countless golfers to perfect their swing, especially when it comes to irons and their short game. In this article, he’s looking to provide you with 5 easy-to-do drills that will elevate your skill level with your wedge in hand.

Nick’s 5 Drills to Improve Your Wedge Skills:

  1. Ball Between Forearms drill – To help your body’s synchronization through the swing
  2. Lifted Trail Foot Drill – To improve your weight transfer and balance
  3. Hinge & Hold Drill – To optimize your sequencing and your movement through impact
  4. Chip a Coin Drill – To better your ability to compress the golf ball
  5. One-Arm Drill – To perfect the technical details of your swing

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1. Ball Between Forearms Drill

When it comes to your wedges, it’s critical for your body to act as a single unit. You want your hips, your chest, your arms, and your hands to be in sync so that the leading edge comes right below the ball at impact, instead of digging into the ground before touching the ball. This drill will help improve the quality of your wedge swing by making your movement more compact and easier to reproduce.

As shown by Nick in the video example above, you won’t need much for this drill. You can opt for a small-sized ball, but a golf towel can also serve you well for this drill.

Going with the ball version of this drill, you’ll want to assume your swing position at address as if you were getting set to hit the golf ball. From this position, you’ll want to jam the ball between your forearms and your body.

With the towel, you’ll want to slide each end under your armpits, with the edges sticking out ideally on each side (if your towel is long enough), and running across your chest. With the towel in place, across your chest, and hanging under your armpits, assume your swing position at address over the golf ball.

Whether you opted for the ball of the towel, the steps are the same from this point out.

First, you can start going ahead with some “air swings”. Only swing at 50 or 40% of your full capacity to limit the risk of injury. This drill only aims at exaggerating the feel of connectivity that you should have throughout your swing.

Then, once you feel comfortable enough with the motion with the ball or the towel squeezed against you, feel free to start hitting some golf balls. Here again, you’re not looking to use more than 60% of your swinging power. It will help prevent injuries and it’s more similar to the kind of speed you’re looking to produce on shorter chips, which this drill is great for.

Overall, this drill should help you not only have better body synchronization for your swing when it comes to hitting your wedges, but it should also help you improve the quality of your short game, as well as the general quality of your ball striking across all your clubs.

2. Lifted Trail Foot Drill

To optimize the power of your strikes and the low point of contact of your swing, you need a proper weight transition through impact. While this is true with any club, the low point is even more critical with your wedges. You always want to produce clean strikes that pick up the ball, which is why the Lifted Trail Foot drill puts an emphasis on your lower body and your weight transition through impact.

As shown by Nick, this drill doesn’t require anything aside from your wedge and a few balls. You’ll ideally want to set up close to the green when practicing this drill as you don’t have to swing very hard, rather you want to focus on keeping your weight on your lead foot at impact.

To do this drill, simply start by taking your usual wedge position at address. Once in position, slide your trail foot back so that your foot is resting on its toes. Your toes should be planted in the ground, in the spot where your heel was before moving your foot.

Once your foot is in position, you’re ready to start swinging your club. Keep in mind that you’re focusing on weight transition and the quality of impact. This means that you’re not looking to generate powerful strikes, rather you want to hit a short chip shot, on top of a strong front leg that should be holding your follow-through.

Don’t be shy to stand closer to the ball if you aren’t comfortable in your initial position. This could be a sign that you also need to get closer when you’re hitting full strikes on the course. This is why this drill is a great starting point for beginners looking to improve their short game.

3. Hinge & Hold Drill

Your wrists play a crucial role in the quality of your wedge strike. It’s important that you let your wrists lead through at impact so that your hands are clearly out front of the clubhead at impact to compress the ball more intensely. Using your wrist properly will not only help with power but should also help improve your spin rates, which is why this drill can serve you well.

As demonstrated by Nick in the clip above, all you need for this drill is your wedge and a few golf balls. You can set up wherever you want but try to set yourself at a target in the distance that you’ll be hitting to when practicing the drill.

To execute this drill, simply get in your usual stance at address. From this point, all you have to do is hinge your wrists back to lift the club at hip height. Ideally, you want to club to be parallel to the ground.

Once your wrists are hinged and the club is lifted, all you have to do from there is follow through with your swing. Of course, you want to focus on making good contact with the golf ball. No need to put too much emphasis on distance or accuracy, your true goal here is to produce clean impacts from the half swing.

Try to build up more swing speed as you progress with this drill. This should help you compress the ball better than ever, while also producing longer swing when you’re out on the course hitting full shots.

4. Chip a Coin Drill

We touched upon this already in this article, but it bears repeating, when it comes to wedges, you want to have as clean of a strike as possible. You want to pick the ball right off the ground as much as possible to limit “chunky” strikes or bladed balls. This drill will help you enhance the quality of your wedge strikes by optimizing the low point of contact in your swing and providing a better feel for the bounce of your club.

As Nick showed in the example above, all you’ll need for this drill, aside from your wedge and a few balls of course, is a coin. Ideally, use a quarter (if you’re Canadian, a loonie or a toonie will do just as well) and place it an inch or two in front of the ball.

From that point, you can assume your usual stance at address. Once in position feel free to go ahead with some swings. Your objective with this drill is to complete a clean swing by first hitting the ball, then moving the coin, whether it’s by nudging it, flipping it, or smashing it away.

Hitting the ball first and then hitting the coin will help you adjust your swing so that you can naturally hit the ball first every time you pull out a wedge. Nick recommends you start this drill with the coin closer to the ball, and then move it away as the quality of your strikes improves for more of a challenge.

5. One-Arm Drill

Our first drill put a lot of emphasis on the idea of having your body work as a single unit through your wedges swing. However, perfecting individual elements can also contribute to enhancing your performance. Think of it as doing an isolated exercise at the gym. You’re working on one specific movement to help your overall performance, and this drill does the exact same thing by focusing on your arm movement.

As Nick showed in the video above, this drill doesn’t require any equipment aside from your wedge and your balls, but it will require some focus and concentration. If you commit yourself to this drill, you’ll notice some clear improvement in terms of muscle memory, which will help to make your swing more consistent.

To perform this drill, simply get in your usual position at address. Once in position, remove your trail hand (or your low hand) from the grip, leaving only your lead hand on the grip.

Here again, you’re looking to produce the best strikes possible in terms of impact quality. Ideally, you’ll also want to send the ball in your desired direction. This means that you don’t need to put a lot of speed on your swings, especially because it will be very difficult with only one hand on the grip.

 

We hope the drills listed in this article help you take your short game to new heights. Nick has seen plenty of his students find success by adding these drills to their practice routine and he hopes that he’ll be able to help you just the same by sharing them in this article. Plus, these drills will help you, regardless of what wedge you have in hand, whether it’s a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, or even a lob wedge.

Shop Used Wedges

If you feel like drills might not be enough for you and what you need is to make a change in the bag, we strongly suggest you check out our “Club Finder” tool. Check a few boxes to better identify your needs and wants, and it’ll provide you with plenty of recommendations within seconds!

For golfers who prefer a more personalized approach, maybe you want to be able to chat with someone directly or you want to get answers to some questions you may have, you can also book a call, one-on-one, with one of our experts. They’ll be able to help you out with all your clubs’ needs.  However, if you still need to learn a little more about wedges before choosing the one for you, you can check out our wedge buying guide.

Until next time,

The Golf Avenue Team

Further reading

Hard to choose a golf wedge when Titleist has so many great options. Here's our list of the top 5 Vokey wedges from the last 10 years, all tested by our experts.

Here are the 8 best golf wedges under $100 from our expert selection. Find wedges from top brands like TaylorMade, Titleist, Cobra, and Callaway at Golf Avenue.