Chipping

Hi my chipping has been terrible recently and so I would like to know if there's anyone out there with some tips or drills that would make me a better chipper

The best part of golf is the short game and I enjoy studying it.

Chipping is usually defined as a low trajectory shot that rolls longer than it flies in the air. The image is taking a chip or small piece.

The teaching pros and the tour players and the writers often contradict themselves. Don't worry about it. There is no one correct way to chip. Swing with what you got as Michelle McGann says in her book. 

Here are some notes from my reading and my practice time.

1. Pick the right ball. I use the softest balls that I can find and still use a wound ball, the DT 90 or 80 when I can get them on eBay. A "distance ball" often will jump off the club face in the pitching stroke and be hard to judge distance. But again play the ball that fits your overall game.

2. Pick your swing. If you are more comfortable putting than pitching with a mini-swing then use a putting stroke for chips that are close to the green say 10 feet or less and you are on the apron or fairway. If you are close to hole, say 25 feet or less, take an eight iron and use your putting grip. Set up with ball slightly back in your stance, weight slightly on your forward foot. Use your shoulders to swing and do not move your wrists. Keep them firm. Use a slightly longer club, say a 6 iron if your target is farther away. You need to experiment and practice. Leadbetter shows something like this and calls it a "chip putt". Other writers disagree. Anyway, practice, practice, practice.

Leadbetter prefers a pendulum style mini-swing for his regular chip shot. To simplify it, open your stance (body is pointing left of target line), set the club face pointing slightly right of target line. Set up with ball close to your back foot. Put your hands in front of the ball. Take a small back swing. The club will react like your normal swing. Now swing but keep your wrists firm. Again practice with different clubs using the same length back swing and tempo. Remember the distances! This swing uses your body; it is not just an upper body pendulum stroke. I think of it as miniature pitch shot with firm wrists!

3. How far off the green should you use a chip shot? Sounds silly but try different lengths until you are comfortable. Leadbetter shows 10 feet from the green (or closer naturally) for his chip putt. Marlene Bauer Hagge recommends 1 to 5 feet off the green. Set up with a slightly open stance and place the ball well back, close to you back foot. Use a slightly descending blow, which you are set up to do anyway. She recommended a 7, 8 or 9 iron depending on much grass you must get over before landing on the green. Interestingly enough she says that your shoulders, arms and hands should be flexible and use very little body movement. This is advice circa 1960 with blade clubs and persimmon woods. Leadbetter and subsequent authors recommend using the large muscles of the body.

4. Which club to use? Most authors recommend using more than 1 club. Jack Nicklaus is one of the exceptions. He recommended using only one club and practice it. It takes too long to master multiple clubs.

This gets too complicated! I prefer the chip-putt with a short iron, 8 or 9, from close to the green and three feet is my limit. Anything over that I use my putting grip but use a mini-swing with no wrist *** but my wrists do move as the club goes back and through. So they do "roll over" or "turn over" naturally. My whole body is moving but not much. By the way a local teaching pro showed this stroke to me. Basically it is my MINI SWING with a putting grip. He uses it from as close as 6 feet from the flag and 1 foot on the fringe.

Option: Putt the ball if you are on the fringe or collar of the green and have a heavy enough putter. Most modern putters are heavy enough or massive enough to use here.  It does take practice but it is MUCH easier than chipping. As Tom Watson said if you can  putt 100 yards then do it!

Try searching for YouTube videos or other sites. Use "chip shot golf instructions" as a start.

What’s the typical result of your chip shots?  Fat, thin, distance control issues?

 

Try playing the ball back, leaning the shaft a bit forward and place most of your weight on the left side and hit down. This will lead to good ball first contact.  

Pitching and chipping styles vary. 

To do a chip, feet should be about maybe 6" apart with an open stance.  The farthest back you are going to take the club is about 7:00 (about a 1/4 swing - after that it becomes a pitch shot).  I'm more of a pitcher so I would use a lob wedge 1/4 swing shot from 12 yards. My thing is I need to work on 6" backswings. 

All pitch and chip shots have most (about 90 percent) of your weight on your front foot.  Tony Jacklin gave a great tip on hitting through the ball (too many people take a big backswing and stop dead in front of the ball; stabbing is not a good chipping technique).  Ball position in relation to the torso should be the same on all golf shots; the way you lean the shaft forward is to shift your feet so the front foot is more forward.  The way you control distance is by choking up and down the handle and the length of backswing.  The stroke should be the same.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply. It has been a great help

Nice response by Vincent but too much to remember. Almost everyone I watch that struggles at chipping is too "handsy".

Keep your hands ahead of the ball through impact and rock your shoulders just like a putt to determine how hard to hit it. If you break your wrists a little bit, don't unwind them at the ball with your hands, drag everything across and through at impact. Take the hands out of the equation and use your whole upper body and you can fix chipping woes in about 30 seconds.

Handle ahead of the ball at impact and make sure your sternum is right over the ball at address. Foot position makes no difference.

Jeff B

Nice response by Vincent but too much to remember. Almost everyone I watch that struggles at chipping is too "handsy".

Keep your hands ahead of the ball through impact and rock your shoulders just like a putt to determine how hard to hit it. If you break your wrists a little bit, don't unwind them at the ball with your hands, drag everything across and through at impact. Take the hands out of the equation and use your whole upper body and you can fix chipping woes in about 30 seconds.

Handle ahead of the ball at impact and make sure your sternum is right over the ball at address. Foot position makes no difference.

Jeff: I notice the handsiness also.   Too many people try to get fancy and that is where they lose it.

hey Mathew,

I have also been struggling terribly with my chipping - so bad that I dread when I miss a green.  The only positive there is that I really try to hit as many greens as possible - and my GIR stat has improved greatly.  However, my poor chipping is costing me 5-10 strokes per round.  I had a 79 recently that would have easily been a 75 with good chipping.

I discovered something this afternoon that coincides with what the others are saying here, that is to not let the wrists break down, ie "flip", through the downswing and impact under any circumstances, and you should see an improvement right away.  It is sort of the Phil Mickelson school of "hinge and hold" - that concept, which is really just NOT letting the angle, wrists and stroke break down through impact.  It really improves the quality of the strike.

I have much much work to do in this area, but I am determined.  If I get my short game happening I could get my scores down into the upper 70s consistently.

Best of luck with your practice!

Jason

I don't have tremendous distance ("average" - 220-240 with a driver, 190-200 with a 5 wood, 145 with a 7 iron, etc) so I have to rely on my short game to keep my score down and make pars on the longer holes. 

To make it simple, you don't really change the way you strike the ball when you chip or pitch.  You change the width of your feet as you shorten your backswing and you choke down on the grip to shorten distance.  You also hit through the ball and not at it (great tip from Tony Jacklin on Golf Channel).  Also when you try to finesse it, that is when you run into problems - skulling, etc.   For me, using a GW 30' from the pin is too delicate of a shot - better to take a lob wedge and choke all the way down with a 7 oclock swing. 

I'm very strong at pitching but could use work on the chipping area.  I'm more comfortable with a lob wedge from 30 feet choked all the way down.   That is what works.

 

bravo Jeff - right on the money - just tried this and it worked very nicely (reminds me of Leadbetter's chipping concept as well).  Now that it worked on the living room carpet I am anxious to get to the practice green and see how I get on.

thanks,

Jason

I worked on the 6" backswing with the 50 wedge this AM and was dropping them within inches from 30-40'.   I took the club back and started the downswing with the hips with a very short follow thru (rocking it) and accelerating through the ball.  This is somewhat of a return to old school golf.

  • Position the ball to your right foot 
  • Put hands forward with grip aligned with left leg
  • Hold this wrist angle through impact and you will have a easy and repeatable chipping stroke.