A short chip to the green, called an approach shot, is an important part of your golf game. You can save a lot of shots with a good short game, but golfers often feel intimidated with the chip shot to the green. Many people take a huge backswing, hinge their wrists, then decelerate and chunk the shot. Unlike the powerful drive off the tee, the chip shot is a delicate, controlled shot, using the shoulders rather than the hands and arms. With a few simple rules on how to approach the green, your chipping ability will become consistent, allowing you to lower your score.
Open your stance by standing with your feet, hips and shoulders open to the target. Using a clock analogy, with the target being 12 o'clock, your body should be positioned at 11 o'clock, if you're a right-handed golfer. For a lefty, you'd be positioned at 1 o'clock.
Stand close to the ball, and narrow your stance. Your feet should be between 6 and 8 inches apart.
The ball should be positioned back in your stance, back of center, opposite your back foot's instep.
If you're a righty, position your weight on your left side. Do the opposite if you're a southpaw.
Place your club head behind the ball, and position your hands forward.
Using your shoulders, as if in a putting stroke, sweep the club head back. The club head should stay low to the ground.
In the downswing, hit down on the back of the ball, contacting first the ball, then the grass, using a steady acceleration. Your head should remain still, and your hands should remain ahead through the shot. Don't use too much of a follow-through, as your goal is to produce a shot that will be low and rolling.
Tips & Warnings
The setup in a short chip shot is most important. Your entire address position should be geared to keeping the ball down, ensuring solid ball/grass contact. Your tempo in the backswing and downswing is key to producing an effective chip shot. Also, pick an intermediate target---the spot where you want the ball to land before it rolls toward the cup.
Your arms and hands should remain quiet throughout the shot. Remember to hit down on the ball, or else you will produce a thin shot, thus losing distance and control. Don't try and scoop or lift the ball. The high-lofted club will do this for you.