When you are playing a chip shot from off the edge of the green, I think it is a sensible practice to visualize this kind of stroke as a close cousin to the putting stroke.
What I mean more specifically is this: in chipping from the apron, just as in putting, the club head should follow a straight line from the top of the backswing through impact with the ball and on to the end of the follow-through. Imagine that your ball is lying atop a yardstick that is pointing toward the hole. Your club head should stay directly above the yardstick during all phases of the chip shot. Your stance will be open with your left foot at approximately a 45° angle to the pin, in order to facilitate the proper movement of the club head. This open stance and the over-the-yardstick stroke—these are the fundamentals that will make it easy for you to keep your chip right on the line to the pin.
Many golfers make the mistake on their short chips of assuming a square stance, keeping both feet perpendicular to the line to the target. The result is that the club head deviates from the straight line during the swing, and an inaccurate shot is the consequence.
from HOMER HERPEL, pro at the Algonquin Golf Club, Webster Groves, Mo.
NEXT WEEK'S GUEST PRO: PETER THOMSON ON THE TAKE-AWAY