If you tune into the European Tour next year, you’re going to see a strange site: a pro intentionally chipping with one hand. No, not just when stuck next to a tree, but from the middle of the fairway, on the collar or wherever.
It’s how Jason Palmer, who will earn his 2015 European Tour status through their Challenge Tour, the equivalent of the Web.com Tour, manages to get the ball close to the hole inside of 50 yards.
Palmer developed the chipping yips during his amateur days, and it nearly cost him everything. Without a two-handed answer, Palmer decided in 2010 to try chipping with just his right hand on the club. In a 2013 interview with Sky Sports, Palmer said his game changed overnight.
“I have to say that the results were instant,” he said. “After going one-handed I enjoyed the best spell of form in my life to that point. I went from being terrified of missing a green or facing a pitch over any sort of trouble, to enjoying the challenge of it all. I felt like I had as a junior, a missed green became fun, an opportunity to show off my one-handed short game and get it up and down. My mindset completely changed on the course and all other aspects of my game improved due to the increased freedom I had on the course.”
Palmer has refined when and how he uses the one-handed stroke, saying he doesn’t use the stroke on bunker shots greater than about 10 yards. And while he doesn’t think this is a solution for everyone, Palmer knows why it works for him.
“With one hand my posture is better, my grip is lighter, you have to feel the weight of the club in your hand and when striking the ball the bounce of the wedge comes in nicely,” he said.
In 2013, Palmer used the technique as part of a three-win season on the EuroPro Alps Tour.
This season, Palmer won the Challenge Tour’s Foshan Open in China in October. The tour’s season concludes this week in Dubai, and, at seventh on the order of merit, Palmer is guaranteed one of 15 European Tour spots available based on earnings.