Should YOU chip like this?

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It’s been a bit manic,” says Challenge Tour-turned-European Tour phenomenon Jason Palmer. The 30-year-old from Leicester has barely had time to contemplate life among the sport’s biggest names and yet he is fast becoming one himself. Why? Because he chips one-handed. A win in China and a runner-up finish in Oman in successive weeks last month proved enough for the man from Kirby Muxloe to secure his European Tour card for 2015.

In the weeks since, Palmer’s story has spread far and fast. “Everyone here at the club is buzzing which is great and family and friends are obviously pretty chuffed for me,” he told us. “I welcome all the media attention and it’s been a really enjoyable time.” With another day of interviews at Palmer’s home club looming, the ‘one-armed bandit’ seems relieved when three Today’s Golfer readers – with similar short game issues to Jason – arrive for a lesson.

Self-confessed troubled chippers Antony Povey, Graham Cowley and Callum Warburton are all here to try the unique method that revitalised Palmer’s game. “I’m looking forward to trying it,” says Graham. “Sometimes my chipping is fine, but then I’ll play a round where I duff everything a couple of feet in front of me.” Antony nods knowingly before adding: “I don’t have the confidence to go at the shot harder, using more loft and a fuller swing. I’m hopeful that trying Jason’s method will force me to do that.”

Palmer had no choice. “There’s no chance I’d have made the Tour without switching,” he admits. “I changed about four years ago because it alleviated a lot of tension around the greens. I suffered with the yips and this got rid of the problems. It was an easy decision because I’d been through years of turmoil. I was hitting a lot of destructive shots two-handed so wasn’t scoring well. When I switched the tension was lifted and I felt like a kid again, really enjoying my golf and I went on a good run of form.”

Palmer hits any shot up to 40 yards one-handed (he describes 40-50 yards as a “grey area that depends on other factors in the shot”). However, the technique has given him so much confidence that he has reverted to playing most bunker shots with two hands again. “I can’t see that being the case with chips and pitches,” he says. “The touch and feel just isn’t there with two hands, so I’ll be staying one-handed for a long time.”

The next stage of that career starts with the 2015 European Tour season and while Palmer says he’s not had time to sit down and make detailed goals, he admits that retaining his card will not be easy. “I’m not planning on making massive changes because my swing is very individual and my style is unique,” he told us. “I’m used to what I do and to change it would probably be a bit stupid and detrimental at this point.”

 

Antony

Antony Povey
Hanidcap: 4

Two-handed technique: I think my stance is a bit too open and I can get quite jabby through the ball. That means I find it difficult to release my hands freely through the shot and struggle to get the distance right. I concentrate really hard on getting it close and can overthink the technical side of things.

One-handed technique: I was rushing the swing before, but you can’t do that with the one-handed action because it’s all about a slower, more rhythmical motion. It allowed me to play shots I wouldn’t dream of playing with two-hands because I was getting more height and reaction on the ball. Discovering that rhythm to the stroke has been amazing and I’ll be using it more.

Jason says: Antony’s swing was not smooth enough and so the one-handed method worked really well as it allowed him to slow everything down and complete a much fuller and more rhythmical swing. He started to really feel the weight of the club in his hand when he switched and that saw his distance control improve massively on a range of chip shots.

Antony
   

Graham

Graham Cowley
Handicap: 12

Two-handed technique: I play most chips with a pitching wedge because I can guarantee the strike. However, not having the loft means my only shot is running the ball at the flag. I struggle to judge the speed that way so I rarely leave it close. I know there are shots I need to play with a more lofted club, but I’m fearful of thinning or fatting it and leaving myself in a worse position.

One-handed technique: I would never take the 60° out unless there was a bunker to go over. With more loft I was able to hit it harder. I’m right-handed, but play golf left-handed so my left wrist isn’t my strongest. I went with my right and it felt great. It gave me a really fluid action and felt natural with the bounce coming through perfectly. I’ll certainly practise a lot more and use it on the course if that goes well.

Jason says: Graham was limiting himself to one club for all his chips because he didn’t have the confidence to take a fuller swing with more loft. The one-handed method changed that straight away as you have to take the club further back and through to get sufficient momentum and height on the ball. He got really consistent as he was forced to use the bounce properly.

Antony
   
Callum

Callum Warburton
Handicap: 18

Two-handed technique: I hit lots of shots fat and thin and really struggle with consistency. I feel more comfortable leaning the shaft forward slightly rather than bringing it back and opening the face up. It’s for that reason that I really struggle with chips where I need to get the ball in the air quickly because I’m taking loft off the ball and it’s impossible to get it to land softly.

One-handed technique: I really liked the one-handed action and when I’ve gone back to two it feels much easier, so it’s a great guide to what you should be doing. It took my mind off the distance and made me concentrate on getting height on the ball, which I managed. I was getting the ball to land softly on the shorter shots which I couldn’t do before and I’ll definitely give it a go again.

Jason says: Callum was similar to me in that his inconsistency came from leaning the shaft too far forward and bringing the leading edge in, causing fats and thins. When he changed to one-handed he naturally brought his hands back behind the ball and opened his stance slightly. This meant he was getting height on his shots which allowed the ball to stop quickly on the shorter chips. 

Antony

 

   
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