Chipping a golf ball precisely onto the green might look easy when you see a pro effortlessly execute the skill, but it can often be a tricky shot to get right.
The chip shot is one of the main shots that any golfer will need to use out on the course, therefore developing a solid, trusted technique is essential if you want to consistently get the ball close to the hole and lower your scores.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the chip shot, including everything you need to know about the set-up, swing, and when to use the shot. We’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions.
What Is A Chip Shot?
The chip is a short-distance shot that’s mainly used off the green around 40 yards or fewer from the hole. In the vast majority of cases, the chip shot involves using a very short swing to strike the ball onto the green and towards the hole.
There are lots of situations on the golf course when a chip shot is the best possible option. Listed below are three of the most common examples.
- You’re on the fringe of the green, and it’s too difficult to attempt a putt (either because of the distance or the presence of severe contours)
- You’re positioned on the fairway, just short of the green
- You’re in the greenside rough, but have a good amount of green to work with
Setting Up For The Chip Shot
Firstly, it’s important to choose a suitable club. For most basic chip shots, short irons and wedges (9-iron, gap wedge, pitching wedge) are the best option due to the fact they provide a good balance between rollout and trajectory.
The next thing to keep in mind is to play the ball center and transfer your weight forward so that your left shoulder is directly over your left foot. You should make sure you move your trunk forward, not your hips.
Grip the club with your right hand, while keeping your right arm straight. What this allows you to do is measure the distance from the ball with your right arm.
Most people make the mistake of doing this with their left hand which can cause the club to make contact with the ground too quickly when their right arm straightens coming down.
After you’ve gripped the club with your right hand and straightened your right arm, add your left hand to help level your shoulders.
Executing The Swing Of A Chip Shot
Once you’ve perfected the set-up, you’ll be in the right position to hit the ball smoothly and accurately. When it comes to the backswing, a good thing to keep in mind is to fold your right arm in and then hinge your left wrist. Needless to say, this is the opposite if you’re left-handed.
This backswing technique enables the club head to move upwards, so you can strike down at impact. Just be sure to avoid letting your right shoulder move up during the backswing. If anything, you probably want your right shoulder to feel as if it’s turning a little to the inside.
On the downswing, keep your right elbow tucked tightly to your side, but allow the rest of your right arm to unfold.
Make sure that your right shoulder doesn’t go lower than it did at address and keep a slight bend in your right wrist. If you’re able to do all this, you’ll get a clean and accurate strike on the ball.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Rule Of 12 In Chipping?
This is a technique which explains the correlation between the loft on a golf club and the amount of roll that you’ll get on a chip shot. The rule of 12 technique uses 12 yards as the total distance the ball should carry on the chip.
Which Club Is Best For A Chip Shot?
If you’re looking to execute a chip shot with a high trajectory and low rollout, shorter irons are naturally the best choice.
For beginner and amateur players, a pitching wedge is a good all-purpose option. Over time, once you develop a greater amount of feel and skill, you can try using other clubs.
What Is The Hinge-And-Hold Method?
This technique was named by pro golfer Phil Mickelson and is used in one form or another by most of the best chippers.
Simply hinge both your wrists in the backswing and keep this hinge all the way through into the downswing and contact with the ball.
Is It Helpful To Use An Alignment Rod?
Using an alignment rod is one of the best ways to test the efficiency of your chipping set-up. Simply practice with the alignment rod just outside your golf ball and see whether your stroke moves too far from in-to-out.
If this is the case, there’s every chance that you’ll hit the heel of the club and “shank” the ball.
Can You Practice Chipping At Home?
If you want to improve your ability to cleanly strike a chip shot, you can purchase plastic golf balls for some easy home chipping practice.
Moreover, you can also invest in a small chipping mat to use wherever you have space to safely chip your plastic golf balls.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, the chip shot in golf is easy to practice and one you can experiment with to find a technique that suits your playing style.
Hopefully, after reading the information in this guide, you’ll be in a much stronger position to confidently execute chip shots out on the course.