A golfer who is weak with chip shots, but who can get close to the green with two shots in a par-4 hole, quickly turns his or her score for this hole to be a bogie. He or she has to make two putts after a weak chip shot. Average tour player will make around 50% putts which are maximum 8-foot long, but if they can get the ball inside 5-foot the hole, they will make 75% of the putts. The key is to get the chip to your putt comfort zone.
If you know how to chip well in golf, you can easily save five shots per round. A golf player who is excellent with chip shots, typically fly the ball a little bit as possible and makes the ball roll on the green as much as possible. By doing this, they can control the chipping distance much better than flying the ball close to the target.
Chip shot vs pitch shot
The difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot is a distance the ball needs to travel. There are no specific distances because chipping and pitching distances are highly related to the golfer. If you are a young athletic golfer, your chipping shot can be as long as somebody’s pitch shot. Every golfer needs to know how long his or hers chipping, or pitching shots are with different clubs and this can be easily practiced in short game practice areas.
The main difference between the shot is the wrist hinge. In pitch shot, you hinge your wrists, and this creates more clubhead speed, and more clubhead speed makes your ball travel longer. The actual backswing can be the same length in both shots.
The pitch shot needs more practicing due to increased clubhead speed than chipping shot. Next time when you are in short game practice areas, pick four smallest club you have in the bag, go to 50 yards mark and hit few shots with each club and try to get feeling how hard you need to hit to get the ball in the target.
Correct chip shot stance
The chip shot stance can vary a little bit between golfers, but the key is that the stance your having is comfortable for you and during the chip shot you can remain balanced. When your setup is comfortable, this will give you more confidence to make the shot.
Often the golfers open their stance a little bit when making the chip shot. If you are a right-handed golfer, this means that you move your left feet 4 inches (10 cm) backward.
The ball position in chip shot is in the middle of your stance, but the most of your weight is on your left feet (around 80%). This setup encourages you to hit the ball downwards, and this will give the best roll the ball, and you can build consistency to your chip shot. By changing the ball placement backward or forwards on your stance, you can impact the ball trajectory. But I rather change the club than my ball placement if I want to ball fly higher.
How to hit a chip shot
- Imagine what kind of shot you need to make to get the ball to the hole
- Pick a landing spot for your ball
- Select the club based on a shot you need to make and landing spot selection
- Make few practice swings and try to get the feeling right
- Put your club behind the ball and line your clubface with the target
- Take your typical grip
- Make your chipping stance (instructions in the previous paragraph)
- Start your backswing along the target line with wrists firm and only rotating your shoulders
- Make transition for downswing and remember to accelerate the club thru the whole downswing
- Watch the ball roll on to the target
Consistent chipping strategy
You can build consistency to your chipping shot when the chipping fundamentals are always the same. An excellent pre-shot routine can be achieved when your stance, your shoulder line, club grip and ball placement in your stance is always done the same way.
The stance and ball placement for chipping shot covered in this post (check the earlier paragraph if you missed this one), your shoulder line should be a little bit open because your stance is open and the gripping of the club is done same way for chipping than for full iron swings.
The chipping shot is not a shot you want to hit hard; you want to deliver the ball as close possible the hole. So, focus on accuracy, not in power.
Chip shots around the green
If you find yourself close to hole but outside the green and you want to, or you need to hit a chip shot around the green your options are limited. With 7-iron in your hands, you quickly give the ball too much speed, and it goes past the hole. Another option is to use a lob shot, but this shot needs a lot practicing, and I use it only if it is a must, like; you are close to the green, but you have a bunker between the hole and your ball.
Best thing to do in this case is to use putting stroke, but instead of a putter, you grab your 8-iron. If you use the putter when you are outside the green the longer grass can make unpredicted things to your ball, like; suddenly it decreases the speed of the ball a lot. By using an iron instead of the putter, the putting stroke will lift the ball just enough to give it a perfect roll to the target.
Remember, when using a shot like this, lift the heel of the iron club a little bit to make it parallel to the ground. Raising the heel will increase the consistency in the long run.
How to chip a golf ball high
If you want to chip the golf ball high, you need to use a lob wedge and use a flop shot to launch ball high. Lob wedges have the highest lofts, and these are typically from 58 to 64 degrees. Flop shot is a good shot the learn if you need to hit the ball high and land it softly. Using a lob wedge and flop shot requires a lot of practice and if you a beginner I would concentrate on building consistency to your swing rather than practicing flop shots.
But if you a beginner and still want to know how to do a flop shot, here is how it is done:
- Use your lob wedge
- Turn the clubface open and take your typical grip
- Open your stance
- Ball placement in the middle of your stance
- Slightly more weight on your front leg
- Take your standard swing but don’t break your wrist (after the shot the clubface should point to the sky)
- Quiet your lower body
- Remember to accelerate thru the downswing.
This shot needs a lot of practice, and when you are practicing this shot in short game areas, reserve enough space for bladed shots (shots which hit sole of the club not in the clubface) because these shots will happen to you.
If you want to learn more, check my best tips for beginners.