The Short Game: How To Hit A Chip Shot

A lot of amateurs brush off chipping as no big deal. They smash drivers all day at the range and barely practice those little 15-30 yard shots around the green. Huge mistake! Having a dialed-in chipping game is so clutch for keeping your scores low and having a great short game.

Nobody’s going to hit every green in regulation, no matter how good your ball-striking is. So you gotta have a go-to 20 yard bump and run or delicate lob shot in your bag for when you miss a green. Being able to get it up and down and save par will take tons of stress off the rest of your game. The pros make chipping look easy, but it takes technique, touch, and confidence. From the grip to the stance to the chipper choice, lots of factors are at play. So dedicate some practice time to the short game and don’t just beat balls mindlessly on the range! Those pitching, chipping and sand skills are gonna be difference between shooting 75 or 85.

Trust me, dial in your chipping and you’ll watch those scores drop. We’ll get into the specifics soon, but start visualizing those tight little shots around the green going forward.

What is a Chip Shot?

Chipping in golf is a short range shot typically used around the green when your ball is just off the putting surface. The purpose of chipping is to accurately fly the ball a short distance and get it to roll out towards the hole.

Chipping shots generally range from 10 to 50 yards depending on the distance to the pin and conditions. To execute a chip, golfers use lofted wedges with high lofts between 45-60 degrees. This allows the club to get under the ball and lift it quickly into the air from a tight lie. The chipping motion itself is an abbreviated swing, involving mostly the arms and shoulders rather than the big muscling of full shots. Finesse, touch and tempo are required to make clean contact and control distance and trajectory. Mastering a variety of chip shots is crucial for scoring, as it allows golfers to save par and avoid three putts after missing a green. Along with putting, chipping skill represents one of the best opportunities to lower your scores.

The Importance of Chipping

Chipping is an extremely important skill in golf for several reasons:

  • Saves Strokes – Excellent chipping skills allow golfers to get up-and-down after missing greens, saving critical strokes and avoiding three-putts.
  • Improves Scoring – By getting the ball close to the hole from around the green, chipping leads to more one-putts and helps lower overall scores.
  • Makes Par More Gettable – Great chippers can save par from almost anywhere around the green, making par-5s and long par-4s more scoreable.
  • Recovers from Mistakes – Even after poor shots, quality chipping can bail a golfer out and minimize damage to their score.
  • Versatility – There are so many types of chip shots required like bump-and-runs, pitches, and flops depending on the situation.
  • Mental Boost – Having confidence in your short game reduces pressure on the full swing shots.
  • Consistency – Chipping well round after round builds consistency not just in the short game but overall scoring averages.

When Should I Chip the Golf Ball?

Knowing when to chip versus putt or pitch is key to scoring well. First, only chip when your ball is just off the green in the fringe or rough. If you’re on the actual putting surface, putt away! Now for chipping vs pitching…chip when you’re close enough to the green where a pitch shot would be overkill. I like to chip anywhere within 20-30 yards of the green to keep things simple. The ball flies only a few feet in the air before rolling out with a chip.

Pitching is for when you have a bit more green to cover – say 30-50 yards out. The ball flight is higher and lands softer on a pitch. You can also use the clock system to decide- which I find useful during my game:

  • Chip when the ball is between the 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock position relative to you and the hole.
  • Pitch from the 8 to 10 o’clock or 2 to 4 o’clock spots further from the hole.

Factors like green slope, pin position and terrain come into play too. But in general, rely on chipping when you’re less than 30 yards out and have a direct chip to the pin.

How To Hit A Chip Shot

First, pick a good club for the job – something like a pitching wedge, sand wedge, or a trusty 9-iron. These will give you the loft you need.

The stance: Plant your feet a little wider than your shoulders and put most of your weight on your front foot – the one pointing towards your target. Your stance should look kinda open, with your front foot a smidge ahead of the other. And oh, don’t forget to put the ball slightly back in your stance, closer to your back foot. This setup lets you hit down on the ball just right.

Next up is grip. A comfortable grip is your ticket. Now, onto the swing – this is where the magic happens. Keep things low and steady. Take a short backswing and keep those wrists fairly straight. As you bring the club down, focus on that connection between your clubface and the ball. And remember, don’t stop right after you hit the ball. Let that club follow through naturally. Keep your eyes locked on that ball even after you’ve given it a nudge.

Lastly practice is key. Yeah, you gotta head to the practice green and do some experimenting. Try out different clubs and swings to figure out your groove. And don’t forget to relax – it’s just a chip shot, after all. No need to tense up. Finally, distance – it’s your buddy. Spend some quality time learning how far your ball goes with various swings and clubs. This will be your secret weapon when you’re out there on the course.

What Club is Best for Chip Shot

When it comes to chip shots, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for the best club to use. The choice of club depends on factors such as the distance to the target, the lie of the ball, and your personal comfort and skill level. However, a few clubs are commonly favored for chip shots:

  1. Pitching Wedge: The pitching wedge is a versatile club often chosen for chip shots. It provides a good balance between loft and distance, making it suitable for a variety of chip distances. Its loft helps get the ball up quickly but still allows for a controlled rollout.
  2. Sand Wedge: The sand wedge, with its higher loft, can be useful for short chip shots around the green, especially when you’re dealing with obstacles or need to stop the ball quickly. It’s great for situations where you need the ball to pop up and land softly.
  3. Gap Wedge: Depending on your club set, you might have a gap or approach wedge with a loft between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. This can be handy for those in-between chip shots where you want a bit more loft than a pitching wedge but not as much as a sand wedge.
  4. 9-Iron: Some golfers opt for a 9-iron for chip shots, especially when they want the ball to stay low and roll out more. It requires a bit more precision, but it’s a good choice when you have plenty of green to work with.

How To Hit Chip Shots Around The Green

hipping around the green is all about finesse and control. When selecting your club, consider the distance to the hole and the conditions of the green. Set up with a slightly open stance, place the ball back in your stance, and maintain a comfortable grip. Keep your backswing short, focusing on controlled wrist movement. Strike the ball just before the lowest point of your swing, ensuring firm wrists and a square clubface at impact. Follow through smoothly, allowing the club to move towards the target. Practice varying swing lengths to master distance control. Take into account the green’s slope and conditions, and visualize your shot before approaching the ball. Spend time practicing on the green to build confidence and adapt your technique to different lies. Remember, it’s about precision, not power. With practice, you’ll become a chipping master in no time.

Mastering the Chip Shot

To excel in the art of the chip shot, one must embrace a meticulous approach and consistent practice. Begin by selecting the appropriate club based on the shot’s proximity to the hole and the green’s characteristics. Establishing a visual representation of the shot beforehand is paramount – mentally mapping the trajectory and subsequent roll of the ball aids in executing a controlled chip.

Maintain a poised and deliberate setup by slightly opening your stance and positioning the ball nearer to the back foot. As the swing commences, restrict the backswing to a brief, calculated motion. This shall ensure that the subsequent downswing, and eventual impact, remain manageable and controlled.

The pivotal moment of contact demands attention. Striking the ball just before the club reaches the lowest point of the swing imparts a desirable loft and roll. During this engagement, retaining firm wrists and a square clubface at impact are fundamental to success.

Execute the follow-through with precision and consistency, allowing the club to advance towards the intended target. Accurate distance control can be refined through deliberate experimentation with varying swing lengths during practice sessions.

Incorporate a profound understanding of the green’s topography into your strategy. This involves interpreting the subtleties of its contours and employing adjustments to compensate for potential deviations from a straight-line path.

In conclusion, mastery of the chip shot demands rigorous discipline and a profound comprehension of its nuances. By adhering to these principles and dedicating oneself to purposeful practice, one can expect a gradual refinement of this vital aspect of the short game.


How to stop chunking chip shots?

To avoid the frustration of chunking chip shots, it’s essential to pay attention to a few key aspects of your technique. First and foremost, ensure that your weight shift is favoring your front foot – this promotes cleaner contact with the ball. Next, focus on a controlled and abbreviated backswing, preventing any excessive or hurried movement. Keeping your wrists firm throughout the swing is crucial to maintain stability and prevent mishits. Aim to strike the ball just before the club reaches its lowest point in the downswing, facilitating a cleaner and crisper connection. Lastly, commit to consistent practice sessions, honing your technique and developing a better sense of timing to help eliminate those troublesome chunked shots from your game.

How to hit a low spinning chip shot?

To execute a low-spinning chip shot, select a club with less loft, like a gap wedge or 7-iron. Position the ball back in your stance and maintain a firm grip with steady wrists. Keep the backswing short, strike down on the ball, and ensure ball-first contact before the ground. Complete the shot with a controlled follow-through and gradual body rotation. With practice, you’ll master this shot, delivering controlled spin that adds finesse to your short game.

How to hit a bump and run chip shot?

To execute a bump and run chip shot effectively, select a club with low loft, like a 7-iron or 8-iron, to keep the ball rolling along the ground. Position the ball toward your back foot in an open stance, and ensure a firm grip with steady wrists. Keep the backswing short and controlled, focusing on ball-first contact and a shallow divot. Allow the ball to roll smoothly by maintaining a steady follow-through. Practice different swing lengths for varying distances and adapt your aim based on the green’s slope. With consistent practice and careful adjustments, you’ll confidently master this shot, making it a valuable asset in your short game repertoire.

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