On Sunday I joined a few of the North Adelaide Golf Club women members for a group golf lesson at Adelaide Shores Golf complex at West Beach. It's only a short 20 minute drive from the city.
A number of us have joined up to be coached by Anne-Marie Knight, a former Australian women's professional golfer.
Adelaide Shores has two golf courses, a par 72 and a par 50, along with practice facilities including a driving range. They have a great kids clinic as well.
The golf courses are just across the road and across the sand dunes to a section of beach that stretches for kilometres along Adelaide's coastline.
On a sunny autumn day in Adelaide people were walking their dogs but I couldn't see anyone braving the cool waters for a swim.
The first exercise was to ask us to place a tee where we thought we should land the ball on the green. We all chose a spot far too close to the hole. When Anne-Marie demonstrated, her landing spot was only about a metre from the front of the green, allowing about 4 metres of run up to the hole. Lesson number 1, land the ball at the front of the green and allow as much run as possible.
Anne-Marie gave us a Chipping cheat sheet, emphasising the 5 L's:
Lie of the ball
Lie of the land
Loft of the club
Length of the shot
My mistake has been to use the same club for all my chip and runs, a 9 iron. Wrong.
Depending on the lie and the distance from the green, you may use anything from a wedge to a 5 iron. A wedge will pop the ball up from a dug in lie, whereas a 5 iron would be useful when the ball is lying on a hill sloping up towards the green and a longer distance out. A 5 iron with less loft will help the ball keep low.
As for the stroke, you keep it pretty much the same for all the clubs:
* ball near the back foot
* slightly open stance
* weight on the forward leg
* hands forward of the ball
* a short back and through stroke with no wrist movement
* the softer your hands on the grip of the club the less distance the ball will run
Some of the above "rules" may change depending on the slope you are hitting off.
Anne-Marie also gave us a tip for when our confidence in chipping was low (always??). She recommended using your hybrid club as a putter. The slight loft of the hybrid will get it through the rough stuff to the green and can give it a lot of distance on the green, depending on the size of the arc you make to stroke the ball.
Next week we have a putting lesson. I'll keep you posted!