Chipping in golf can make or break your score on a given hole. It’s that crucial transition shot that gets your ball from the rough or the fringe of the green closer to the hole, ideally in a position where you can putt it with confidence. However, mastering the chip shot can be challenging for many golfers. So let’s break down how to chip a golf ball, more specifically four different types of chip shots that you can use to up your short game and lower your scores on the course.
How To Chip A Golf Ball
1. Choosing the Right Club
While many amateurs automatically reach for their wedge when chipping, the club you choose should reflect the shot you’re faced with. Depending on the distance to the pin and the type of terrain you’re on, you might opt for anything from a 7-iron to a lob wedge.
- Short distance with little green to work with: Lob wedge or sand wedge.
- Medium distance with more green: Pitching wedge or 9-iron.
- Longer distance chips: Anything from an 8 to 7-iron, using more of a putting stroke.
2. Positioning the Ball
For most chip shots:
- Place the ball back in your stance, near the right foot for right-handers.
- This helps ensure a descending blow, striking the ball before the turf.
- If you want a lower shot with more roll, move it farther back. For a higher shot, position it slightly forward.
3. Stance and Posture
- Your feet should be closer together than a full shot, roughly hip-width apart.
- Lean slightly toward your target, putting more weight on your front foot (around 60-70%).
- Your hands should be ahead of the ball, pointing towards your lead thigh.
Use a grip similar to your full swing, but you can grip down on the club for added control.
5. The Swing Motion
Chipping doesn’t involve a full swing. Instead, it’s more wrist-less and resembles a putting stroke.
- Backswing: Keep your wrists firm and rotate your shoulders back. The motion should be controlled by your shoulders, not your hands.
- Downswing: Again, using your shoulders and keeping your wrists steady, swing the club down making sure you hit the ball first before grazing the ground.
- Follow through: Your follow-through should be proportionate to your backswing. This ensures a smooth, controlled motion throughout.
- Don’t decelerate: A common mistake is to decelerate on the downswing, leading to poor contact and inconsistency. Focus on acceleration and keeping a consistent tempo.
6. Visualize the Shot
Before you chip, picture the trajectory you want the ball to take and where you want it to land on the green. Remember, you’re not necessarily aiming for the hole, but a spot on the green that allows the ball to roll to the hole.
Fairway vs Rough
Chipping from the fairway and chipping from rough require different approaches.
- Fairway: Take a slightly steeper angle to avoid catching too much turf. Use a club with less loft, such as an 8 or 9-iron for shorter chips.
- Rough: The longer grass will naturally increase the ball’s spin. Take a shallower angle and use a club with more loft, such as a pitching wedge or sand wedge.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
The more you practice chipping, the better you’ll get at gauging distances and how much force to apply. Spend time around practice greens and vary your chip shots to get comfortable with different situations.
4 Different Types of Chip Shots
1. The Basic Chip or Standard Chip
- Purpose: This is the most straightforward chip shot. Use it when you have a clear path to the hole and plenty of green to work with.
- Technique: The ball is placed in the middle or slightly back in your stance, with the majority of your weight on your front foot. The hands are ahead of the ball, ensuring a downward strike. The swing is controlled mainly by the shoulders, and the club is taken back and then followed through in a pendulum-like motion.
- Club Choice: Typically, a pitching wedge or 9-iron is ideal, though club selection can vary based on the distance you need to cover.
2. The Flop Shot
- Purpose: The flop shot is used when you need to get the ball up quickly, usually because of an obstacle like a bunker or when the pin is positioned very close to where you are, leaving you with little green to work with.
- Technique: Open your clubface significantly and set up with the ball forward in your stance. Your stance itself should also be opened (feet, hips, and shoulders aligned left of the target for a right-handed golfer). The swing is much steeper than a basic chip, and it’s essential to follow through. The idea is to slide the club under the ball, using the club’s loft to pop the ball into the air.
- Club Choice: A sand wedge or lob wedge due to their high loft.
3. The Bump-and-Run
- Purpose: This shot is used when the pin is a considerable distance across the green, or when the green’s surface is too unpredictable for a basic chip. Instead of flying the ball to the hole, the idea is to land it on the front portion of the green and let it roll (or “run”) to the hole.
- Technique: Play the ball back in your stance with your weight forward and your hands ahead of the ball. The swing is much like a putting stroke, controlled by the shoulders. The emphasis is on getting the ball on the ground quickly so it can roll out.
- Club Choice: A less lofted club, such as a 7 or 8-iron, or even a hybrid for longer runs.
4. The Backspin Chip Shot
- Purpose: When you need the ball to stop quickly or even roll back a little after landing.
- Technique: Focus on a clean, slightly descending strike to trap the ball and generate spin. Maintain acceleration through the ball.
- Club Choice: High-lofted clubs like a lob wedge or sand wedge.
- Notes: Make sure the clubface, especially the grooves, is clean. Softer, premium golf balls can help increase spin. Perfect for firm and fast greens.
Types of Chipping Shots:
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Good Drill to Help You Chip Better and Make Solid Contact Consistently: