Chipping vs Pitching

Golfers use a variety of short shots around the greens, with the most common being the chip shot and the pitch shot. While these two shots have some similarities, there are important differences between chipping and pitching in golf which we will discuss.

What is Chipping?

A chip shot is a short shot played around the greens where the ball goes a relatively short distance through the air and then rolls the rest of the way to the hole. Chipping requires a short, crisp swing with little follow through. The clubface is kept open through impact to create loft and get the ball airborne. The ball will carry a short distance in the air and release and roll out along the green.

Chips are usually played from very close to the green from tight lies. The grass may grab the club at impact, requiring a firm strike to get through the ball cleanly.

What is Pitching?

A pitch shot is a short shot where the ball goes a longer distance in the air, with ideally little or no roll after it hits the green. Pitch shots require a more controlled swing than chips to lift the ball higher in the air and land it softly on the putting surface. The clubface is kept square through impact to reduce spin and allow a balanced flight path.

Pitches are played when further away from the greens than chips, often from the collar of the rough. The ability to fly the ball most of the way to the hole is needed from this longer distance. Pitches allow better trajectory control than chips.

Differences Between Chipping vs Pitching

Swing Length

  • Chipping uses a very short and quick stroke
  • Pitching uses a longer, more controlled swing

Ball Flight

  • Chipping keeps the ball low through the air
  • Pitching makes the ball go higher into the air before descending onto the green


  • Chipping adds backspin to make the ball stop abruptly on the green
  • Pitching reduces spin to allow the ball to land softly and not roll much after impact on green

Distance from Green

  • Chips are played when you are just off the green
  • Pitches come from a longer distance range, approx 10-30 yards from the edge of the green

Stance and Weight Distribution

  • Chipping uses a narrow stance with weight on the leading foot
  • Pitching uses an open stance with weight balanced evenly

Club Selection

  • Chipping club selection is more geared towards lofted clubs like wedges
  • Pitching requires a lot less loft, often a 9 iron or pitching wedge is best

When to Chip vs Pitch

  • Use a chip when you have a relatively easy shot from just off the green and need to get the ball rolling towards the hole quickly.
  • Pitch when further from the fringe of the green and when you need to carry the ball in the air over trouble and onto the green.
  • If you have an iffy lie in deeper grass, chipping will allow you to use a descending blow to get through the ball cleanly.
  • Pitching works best when you have a good lie and room to land and stop the ball on the putting surface.
  • If you only need to carry the ball a very short way onto the front of the green, better to stick with a chip.
  • When you need to fly the ball higher and further to reach back pin location pitching is the better choice.

Chipping Techniques

  • Narrow stance with your weight favouring the lead foot to stay down through impact.
  • Grip down on the club, choking down an inch or two from standard.
  • Make a short, crisp backswing staying very compact. Don’t take it too far back.
  • Swing down firmly, maintaining the clubface angle to add loft. Let the clubhead pass under the ball cleanly.
  • Finish with your hands and body ahead of the ball, extending out towards the target.
  • Keep your head down with eyes focused just in front of the ball to make clean contact.

Pitching Techniques

  • Use an open stance to make an in-to-out swing path easier. Play the ball back off your rear foot.
  • Make a wider backswing than a chip, at least waist high. Keep the swing controlled.
  • Swing down and through the ball, compressing at impact with a slight forward shaft lean.
  • The clubface should be square to the target at impact to reduce spin and launch the ball high.
  • Keep your head down after impact to allow the proper follow through required.
  • Land your weight on the lead side after striking the ball to release power through the shot.


Chipping and pitching require different techniques, but both come down to practice. Mastering these short shots leads to lower scores. Know which shot fits the situation, visualize the shot shape and trajectory needed, and execute with proper fundamentals. Developing touch and feel around the greens takes commitment, but is one of the most important skills in golf.

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