Patrick Kelley Practice Chipping Motion
We have dubbed this the PCM which can be “Patrick chipping motion” or the “practice chipping motion”. Basically, this practice exercise will help you better understand proper impact with a golf swing. So, here is how you do it.
This is for a right handed golfer. I suggest using a pitching wedge or an approach wedge with some type of cavity back on it when you start. Using a 56 degree or 60 degree sand wedge will be very difficult. Also, always put the ball on a tee. You can even tee it up a little bit high for this exercise.
First you have to get the proper setup and posture. Go here to understand just how much you need to be bend over at the hips at address. Once you are in the proper setup and posture, you will pick up your right leg and set the tip of your big toe on the ground just behind where your heel was at proper setup. The first few hundred times you do this, you may find that you need to place the tip of your big toe a little big further back, meaning further away from the ball and target, because your hamstrings, quads and calves won’t be flexible enough. You’ll get there.
Once the tip of your big toe is on the ground, you will allow your right knee to fall forward toward the target. The end goal will be for your right knee to fall behind or inside your left knee. Yes, you will think it feels crazy and looks ridiculous, but it works.
When your right knee falls behind the left knee, you should put all the pressure of your weight on the inside of your left foot. You should feel the muscles on the inside of your left leg engaged. This is what impact should feel like. Your right leg should be soft (towards the target) and the inside of your left leg should be bracing.
Now, the hard part. If you have properly placed your legs where they should be, your arms are going to be ahead of the ball. The first few hundred times you do this, your entire upper body is going to be very tight. The goal is to relax the hands, arms, shoulders, chest and upper back. It will take hundreds upon hundreds of reps but here is what it will eventually feel like.
Your left hand will feel like you are forward pressed and the backside of your left hand will be facing the target. To do this, you will realize the importance of a short left thumb with the grip. Make that left thumb as short and possible. To me, it feels almost as if the back of my left hand is facing the ground right in front of the ball.
The only way you can do this is to completely relax your left elbow. I can promise you that you will not be able to do this for the first thousand reps. The relaxation of the left elbow is why no amateurs can shoot par on a consistent basis. Well, that and many other factors. But, that is what amateurs don’t understand about impact. At impact, your left elbow is soft and pointing towards the ground and the right elbow is leading.
With the back of your left hand facing the target (feeling bowed), attempt to relax the left elbow and allow it to fall towards your right foot. Many will feel like the inside of their left forearm is pointing towards the sky. The right hand will be pressed forward against the grip and the right elbow will actually feel like it is ahead of the left elbow. Try to get the feel of the right elbow being on the target line.
To me, it feels like the right elbow is horizontal to the ground and is leading the shaft of the club. Once again, you will need to be very relaxed and comfortable to get this feel.
Once all of that is in place, you will use your lower left obliques, the back side of your left side to start the backswing. If you can do this, you only have to get the club face about a foot off the ground. From there, let gravity do the work and gently use your lower right obliques to move the club through impact.
If done correctly, the club face will rotate very little and you will pop the ball up in the air. You do not need to use your hands at all. Note that the first 500 to 1000 times you do this you are going to want to use your hands, arms, wrists, shoulders and everything else.
The point of this exercise is to help you feel your core creating speed in the swing and not your hands, arms or shoulders.
Most will either hit the ground behind the ball or blade it the first few dozens times you try the exercise. If you try to generate any speed, you will likely shank it. Do not give up. You are doing this because your arms and hands are trying to take over and you are not relaxed enough in your upper body.
When you do it correctly, you will know. The club slides right under the ball and the ball pops up and you will be shocked at how far it goes.
Also, make certain that you do not try to go back too far or generate any power with this exercise. You should really only get the club off the ground about a foot; maybe less. You will also only follow through a very short amount. The distance you go back should be the same distance you go forward. If you can keep your right big toe gently on the ground, you will take the legs out of the swing. For me, it took me about three weeks to finally get the legs out of this practice motion. Many, many amateur golfers think they should use the right leg to drive to the ball and get power. This is completely false. Keep the right big toe barely on the ground and rotate through with your right obliques.
This exercise will help you to realize the best ball strikers feel like they are hitting a punch shot. The club face does not need to travel that far for it to do its job.
When you master Patrick Kelley Practice Chipping Motion, you are going to be a much better ball striker and a significantly better golfer.
ADVANCED: Once you start to feel your left elbow relaxed and your left obliques creating the backswing, you will start to be able to keep your right elbow soft for longer. The longer you can keep your right elbow soft, even through impact, the better you are going to hit the ball. This is where you will add tremendous distance on your full swings.
Note that you can now feel the softening or relaxing of the right elbow. Once you get the overall control of the swing with your core, you can then focus on allowing the arms, especially around the elbows to be very soft. Once you hit a few chips with a soft left elbow and a soft right elbow all the way through impact, you will understand why the ball starts out right of the target and then draws back in.
Keep working on keeping your left elbow soft and you will eventually be able to relax that right elbow. Remember, we aren’t going back very far with this chipping motion so do not feel as if your arms need to create any depth. The depth of this chipping motion will be created by the left obliques and your core. You will then drive with the right obliques through the ball with your right elbow staying very soft and leading the left arm.
MORE ADVANCED: Once you have perfected the chipping motion and you are comfortable you can then add two very important layers. The first layer is to bring your right foot closer or create a more narrow stance. By doing this, your right knee will feel like it is well behind the left knee. It might be hard to do the first few times because you might not have enough flexibility.
The second layer is to drive the lower right obliques or right hip down and in. It will feel like you are driving it into the inside of your left quad. If you can keep this angle even on the backswing you will make perfect contact. All amateurs are going to struggle to keep the right hip stable as that is how they start their swing. If you can learn to not move the right hip back when starting any type of golf swing, you are going to be a much better ball striker and golfer.