Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 529 - Wed. October 24th, 2018
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Chunky - Great For Peanut Butter, Bad For Chip Shots
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Batavia Country Club
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Tom's Featured Tip: Chunky - Great For Peanut Butter, Bad For Chip Shots

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I had three questions last week about how to combat "chunking" chip shots and pitch shots, so here are a few technique tips to help increase your confidence in your chip and pitch shots, enjoy.

Most players fall in to one of the following two categories for their chips or short pitch shot swings.
  • those that hit downward and take a divot after the strike (diggers)
  • and those that pick the ball and just brush the ground after the strike or pick it totally clean (sweepers).
Diggers strike the ball on a downward angle, then the leading edge of the club takes a divot forward of the ball position after the strike.

Sweepers strike the ball with a more level angle of attack, and the bounce of the club contacts the ground and slides through and brushes the ground or the grass after the strike rather than taking a significant divot. It's usually advantageous to use a wedge with a lot of bounce for this method.

Here's how you can determine your chipping strike tendency:
  • Tee a ball up 1/2 inch off the ground and place another tee 1/2 inch off the ground two inches ahead of the ball on the target line.
  • Position the ball where you would place it for a standard chip shot.
  • Take five short chip shot length swings with your sand wedge and observe if you consistently strike the second tee after you strike the ball.
If you consistently hit the second tee, you are a digger. If you never hit the second tee, you are a sweeper.

Because a digger type strike takes a lot of precision, diggers that are not well practiced are most likely to have a mis-hit on chips or pitches when the grain of the grass is against you in the rough, or off of tight lies in the fairway. There's very little margin for error in these situations.

I personally think that the digger type of strike, when executed properly, imparts more consistent backspin and a more reliable run out than a sweeper strike. However, as I said before, it takes more precision to execute a digger strike properly, especially under adverse lie conditions. .

To execute a good digger strike,
  • your weight distribution needs to be forward, 70% - 30%
  • the ball needs to be positioned very slightly behind center,
  • you need to have a good amount of forward shaft lean,
  • and you must maintain body rotation through the strike.
If you don't have a lot of time to practice, or when your lie is against the grain in the rough or very tight in the fairway, you would be wise to learn a sweeper strike technique. It's got a wider margin for error so your at least likely to get the ball on the green when you utilize it.

To execute a sweeper strike:
  • use a wedge with a lot of bounce
  • weight distribution is 50% - 50%
  • ball position is center or slightly forward
  • your stance is a little more vertical (taller)
  • your forward shaft lean is very slight, just short of vertical
  • your angle of attack is less downward, it feels more level to the ground at the strike
  • your strike should slide the bounce of the club along the ground after contact
  • your hands are passive through impact
Practice the sweeper strike with short to medium length chip shot swings with balls that are teed up at different heights, and with another tee in the ground at the same height as the tee holding the ball, two inches forward of the teed up ball, on the target line.

With a correct sweeper strike, you should hit the teed up ball, and make no contact with the second (forward) tee. Practice at different heights, then practice off the ground.

If your strike tendency is that of a digger, you should still have the sweeper strike technique in your scoring arsenal for certain lies, so you'll need to practice this additional drill:
  • Practice sweeper chip shot swings without a ball, skipping the bounce of the club off the ground rather than taking a divot.
  • Get used to the feeling of having the bounce of the club strike the ground rather than the leading edge.
  • After ten swings without a ball, strike balls off the ground. The tendency for a digger will be to lift up when the bounce skips along the ground. Don't flinch - concentrate on maintaining proper posture and technique through impact.
It will take some practice to gauge the rollout, but it's an easier technique to learn and maintain than the digger strike. The danger with the sweeper strike is flipping the clubhead at impact and coming up short. Take care to maintain good wrist positions and good swing speed through the strike.

Have this shot in your bag for when you need it and your scoring will improve - guaranteed!


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

Pre-pay for a 2018 membership now and your membership will apply to the rest of this year!

FISH FRYS ARE BACK AT BCC and other dinner specials with soup and salad bar - starting Friday October 5th, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan