Golf Chipping Tips
Have you ever wondered what separates the professional golfers from the amateurs? Chipping. The short game of a pro golfer is something to admire as they can control their wedges to chip each shot close to the hole for easier putts.
You might have guessed Driving which is also true. Pro golfers can hit long drives, much longer than the average player.
But what happens if you hit every fairway and yet still miss every green? Does the driver really end up mattering if you still face chip shot after chip shot each hole from missing the green.
Consider the golfer who doesn’t hit many fairways but still manages to hit onto the green from the rough.
While you can spend hours on the driving range, we would prefer you shift focus to a 80/20 schedule where you spend 80% of your time practicing short game like putting and chipping and 20% of your time practicing your driver.
Here are several key tips to helping you become better at chipping a golf ball. Learn how to control your wedges and nestle the ball closer to the hole to reduce stress on your putting.
15 Chipping Tips Every Golfer Should Follow
Stand Closer to the Ball
On a normal golf shot, you’d take a standard distance away from the golf ball so the sole of the club rests flat on the ground. But with a chip shot, we want to get closer to the golf ball in our set up stance.
This will require you to lift the club shaft up more vertically, raising the heel of the club off the ground.
It results in the club being able to cut through the grass a bit better than normal as it lowers the profile of the club and pushes the toe of the club down more.
It also helps the club face stay facing the target better during the chipping motion, by helping you maintain a straighter takeaway backwards, as opposed to pulling the club inwards on an arcing motion.
When we stand farther away from the ball, the club takes a more arcing path away from the ball which causes the face of the club to point away from the target.
Choking down shortens the length of the club, bringing your hands closer towards the ground and this gives golfers better feel and control.
If you are facing a pressure chip, choke down to add some confidence and control over the shot.
Adjust Your Weight Forward
When chipping, you want your shoulder plane to be more level. To achieve this, we need our weight more forward in our stance to help promote that back shoulder staying level with our front shoulder.
The fault many golfers make is dipping that back shoulder towards the ground in the chipping motion and this usually results from having your body weight shifted onto your back leg.
Keep those shoulders level with the ground.
Narrow the Stance
Start by positioning the feet closer together. We don’t need a wide base to support a powerful swing when chipping.
Your stance should still give you balance, however, so don’t make it to narrow where the chipping motion makes you feel like you’re going to tip over.
Center the Golf Ball
The ball position should be center of your stance for most chip shots. If you need to add loft and hit higher chip shots, you can move the ball more forward in the stance.
For lower flighted chip shots, move the ball further back in your stance.
Use Your Hands
Unlike a putting stroke, where the hands stay still and you use your shoulders and arms to move the club, the chipping motion needs to use the hands some.
Your body still controls the movement of the club during the swing but you need to allow some motion in the hands.
Your hands should slightly hinge on the takeaway to help pick the club up out of the grass. This also helps create loft on the shot so the ball can pop up into the air.
Hold that hinge as you following through and strike the ball. The amount of hinge isn’t to be overdone, however. See our next point below.
Don’t Get Too Handsy on the Swing
We want to use our hands but we don’t want to flip the club backwards and forwards during the chipping motion. This is known as “scooping” which can also be called “scooping the wrists”.
Instead, imagine the butt of the club pointing at your belt during set up and imagine a laser coming out of the butt of the club. As we turn back and turn through the chip shot, the laser should stay pointing towards your belt buckle.
If you start flipping the hands forwards and backwords, the butt will point behind you and in front of you instead of pointing towards the belt buckle.
Don’t Set the Hands to Far Forward of the Ball
When setting up for a chip shot, the hands should be slightly ahead of the golf ball, creating a very subtle forward leaning shaft. To a spectator, the club shaft may still look vertical to the ground.
You’ll get in trouble when you start leaning the shaft forward excessively in your set up. This shuts down the face angle of the club and lowers the flight of the ball as well as promotes digging of the club face on the down swing.
Choose the Right Club
Find the wedge that works best for you. Decide if you prefer to hit low, runner style chips or higher, arcing flop shot style chips.
The amount of ball flight in the air (carry distance) before landing versus the amount of roll after landing will take time to feel out and see what is more comfortable.
If you feel more comfortable with shorter back swings and less power to get more control over the golf ball, try using a lower lofted club like a 9 iron. You’ll chip the ball only a few feet and watch it roll most of the way to the hole.
If you feel better swinging with more power to flight the ball higher into the air, carry farther, and have less roll, then use a higher lofted wedge like a 58 degree or 60 degree wedge.
Become Great with One Club
Once you’ve found the right style of chipping and the right club for getting the job done, your next goal is to master that club. Become great with that one club to excel your chipping skills and lower your scores.
We don’t have hours and hours to practice golf like the professionals do. For many of us, golf is a weekend hobby. Therefore, we don’t have the time it takes to become skilled with multiple clubs around the green.
Get really darn good with one golf club around the green as your chipping club and spend your time focusing on practicing with that one club to really build control and feel.
Choose Where You Want to Putt From
When analyzing a chip shot, consider the path the ball will take once it lands on the green.
How does the green break? Where does the green slope upwards and downwards? What will the ball do as it rolls towards the hole, impacting where it may come to rest for your next putt?
Pick out a spot where you want to putt from based on the green slope and work backwards to decide how you can chip the golf ball to end up in this ideal putting spot.
If you hate downhill putts, find a way to chip the ball to end up on the side of the hole that leaves you an uphill putt.
Get on the Green
The first and foremost rule of chipping is to get the golf ball onto the green.
We want to get up and down for par, taking only two shots to get the ball into the hole. We can’t do this if we don’t get on the green with our first shot, chipping the ball.
When facing a challenging chip shot, don’t try to get too cute and hit the perfect chip shot.
Take a more conservative approach and just get the ball on the green if you think it’s going to be almost impossible to pull off the perfect chip shot that gets the ball close to the hole.
The last thing we want is to fluff a chip two feet in front of us and have to chip a second time to get onto the green.
Take the Club Up on the Backswing, Not Inside
Many golfers make the mistake of taking the club away from the ball to the inside or too far to the inside. The takeaway on a chip shot should be a more neutral, straight back approach.
Picture yourself taking the club back, and the clubhead going upwards. Then come down back to the ball on the downswing.
Picking the club up as you take it back, helps lift the club out of the grass, giving you more consistency on your chips not letting grass (the rough) interfere with your swing motion.
Take the Club Down to the Ball, Then Inside Follow Through
The downswing on a chip is more steep since you took the club away from the ball on a steeper back swing plane. This helps you pick the ball clean out of the grass.
If you came back down to the ball with a more shallow swing plane coming from the inside, then you’d have more interference with the grass which could hinder your club head’s path and impact with the ball.
Think steeper swing plane with chipping to pick the ball clean.
Hit Out of Really Tall Grass with the Bunker Shot Technique
When we face golf shots in tall grass, the best technique is to use your typical bunker shot swing.
In a bunker we are trying to pop the ball up out of the sand and same goes with tall grass. We need the ball to pop upwards out of the thick grass and land on the green.
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