Surely chipping feels like the easiest thing to do when you see Tour players like Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods doing it. But these guys, undoubtedly, have put in A LOT of work to manage to do that in such a flawless and sometimes even effortless manner. So how to chip in golf is something you should know if you struggle with this shot.
Solid contact, in the case of chipping, is the whole point. As for the aim of chipping, these little shots are supposed to go over the rough or fairway onto the green and then bounce and roll either very close to the hole or into it.
For chipping like a pro, what really matters the most is consistency. A consistent ball speed and launch/trajectory produced by a consistent strike. Only then can you actually become one of the golfers who are excellent around those greens.
Also, the added advantage here is that once you reach that level of excellence with chipping, you’ll be well-equipped to practice that very chipping method with your other golf clubs for hitting all kinds of different chip shots.
Table of Contents
- But Wait A Second, What Is A Chip Shot?
- The Best Chipping Technique There Is!
- Chipping In Golf – How to Do It? (Step-by-Step Instructions)
- Frequently Asked Questions About How to Chip Better (FAQs)
- Closing Thoughts…
But Wait A Second, What Is A Chip Shot?
It’s a part of your short game, a chip shot is usually hit from within 40 yards or so from the green. You have to strike the golf ball onto that green using a short swing, which means the club isn’t moving fast. So the ball keeps rolling toward the hole and finishes either next to it or goes into the hole itself.
Now, how about when to chip in golf?
- Situation #1 – When it makes no practical sense to putt when on the fringe.
- Situation #2 – When greenside rough becomes a part of your game and there’s still some of that green left to work with.
- Situation #3 – When in the fairway and the green is just right there or when in a close-to-the-green mown area.
The Best Chipping Technique There Is!
A short arc is created for the chip shot and because of this, factors like your posture and foot position don’t matter all that much. Keep the feet wide apart or closer together, doesn’t really make a difference. The same can be said about standing further away from or closer to the golf ball. Either way, you can learn to become a champion chipper.
So the most important thing is to feel comfortable and that will pave the way for consistency in your chipping technique. It simply consists of drawing your club back a little (not higher than your chest) and then making contact with the ball (the loft should be consistent). This is called the Hinge-And-Hold method.
The Very Effective ‘Hinge-And-Hold’ Method for Chipping
Thanks to Phil Mickelson, this incredibly practical and comfortable way of chipping now has a name – Hinge-And-Hold.
As the term suggests, you hinge the wrists during your backswing and into your downswing, and also into the golf ball. So you have to keep that hinge intact and consistent throughout.
The best part about this particular chipping technique is that it almost always makes the right contact between the clubface and the ball, and at a steady, consistent loft that too. Thus, a consistent trajectory is guaranteed.
Many golfers make the mistake of releasing the golf club right before hitting the ball. Hence, the change in loft at impact, which results in inconsistency and sometimes also a bladed shot.
When you hinge and hold, you have to accelerate through that golf ball, so the clubface keeps from closing in with your hands. Focusing more on creating a solid contact with the ball is the most important thing here, much like in the case of full iron shots.
And now of course, you’re most likely to not get this the first time itself, so be patient and keep practicing. Here’s how Phil Mickelson demonstrates the chipping technique he was responsible for naming…
Chipping In Golf – How to Do It? (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Short-game shots hit around the greens – that’s a chip shot in a nutshell. The whole concept involves getting the golf ball on that green and getting it to roll and run like a putt.
#1 Pick the spot where you’d like the golf ball to land
When I said step-by-step instructions, I really meant it. So let’s begin from ground zero, which means determining that very spot where the ball should be landing according to you.
If that spot is the putting surface, then great because of the typically flatter, well-equipped turf conditions there that are almost 100-percent sure to produce that first, crucial bounce. In that case then, please avoid landing your chip shots on uneven, sloping, or rough ground.
Simply visualize your target the most precisely, that should be easy, right?
#2 Choose the most suitable golf club for chipping
Most commonly wedges and short irons are used to play chip shots – 9-iron or pitching wedge or sand wedge, etc. Why that is, it’s because these golf clubs generate the perfect, much-needed combination of maximum trajectory and minimum rollout. Provided, of course, you’ve got the best set of irons in your golf bag.
The club you pick for chipping is actually based on the gap between the hole and landing point. If that distance is just 15-feet short, choose a higher-lofted golf club to prevent the ball from rolling/running too far i.e. sand wedge. While for a bigger gap, you need something more straight-faced instead of a severely angled clubface, hence a 7-iron.
However, most beginners use the pitching wedge since it’s so much easier to hit in comparison to short iron. And once those golfing/chipping skills develop, you can always try out other clubs. So here’s how to use a pitching wedge if you fall under the category of amateur or beginner golfer.
#3 Check the lie as well
Decide which golf club to use depending on the lie.
For instance, longer grass will compel you to hit a high-lofted club for a longer golf swing, irrespective of the distance of the hole. In this case, the ball, after all, has to get high enough so it can get out of that longer rough.
When the golf ball lies in a “down” depression, then you have to ditch the straight-faced angle (most commonly used in such scenarios) and instead pick an even higher-lofted club. Along with shifting the golf ball slightly more behind in the stance, a little closer to that right foot of yours.
#4 Hit your chip shot the right way
Once more, contact, more specifically a solid, consistent contact in EVERYTHING. And here’s how you can get that right…
- Setting up properly for your chip shot
Remember that solid strikes are inevitable when that very important ‘low point’ in the downswing happens in just the right spot. This low point is either at the golf ball or in the front (only slightly) of the ball, thus hitting that ball first and then brushing the turf.
Poor or wrong contact is often an outcome of setting up incorrectly. When you do it wrong, what’s actually happening is you’re tilting away from your target as a result of effortlessly wanting the ball to lift. So you end up pushing your hips forward into the target since your weight is most likely set forward during address.
As a consequence, your right side drops lower than your left side. And that, in turn, moves the critical low point of your downswing behind the golf ball. This is how skulls and chunks are hit!
So I’ve described the problem, now how about the solution?
A proper, correct setup involves leveling the shoulders. First of all, make sure you’re using a wedge with a loft angle anywhere between 52 degrees and 56 degrees. Then position the golf ball in the center and push your trunk weight (not hips) forward to get the left shoulder over the left foot.
Moving on to the grip, the right hand grips the club first with the right arm maintaining a straight position. In a way, at this point, you’re just measuring, with the right arm, how far is the golf ball. Most golfers make the mistake of using their left arm, which ends up pushing the right side too low. The result of which is your right arm coming down and your golf club hitting the turf before making contact with the ball.
The key is to grip the club with the right hand and then the left hand while keeping both shoulders leveled. So the right shoulder needs to be as high as the left.
- Folding and unfolding in your swing
Correct setup – check!
In that case, you’re fated to strike the golf ball first before hitting the ground. The right arm (long) and right shoulder (high) automatically set the distance to the ball. Then you get on with your backswing motion, which consists of folding your right arm and hinging your left wrist.
This action tends to move the clubhead position upward for you to naturally hit down (only slightly) at the point of impact. Make sure though that your right shoulder doesn’t move up during the backswing. Rather you should feel like it’s running inside a little.
In the downswing part of the sequence, allow the right arm to unfold, but keep that elbow close to the side. The right shoulder shouldn’t travel any lower than when it started. If you manage to achieve that, expect nothing short of a solid, crisp strike.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Chip Better (FAQs)
How to Improve Chipping Consistency?
Tips to help you chip better almost always include a proper setup. Means keeping your weight forward, placing the golf ball on the back or front foot (never between the feet), and then striking down on that ball with stable wrists and elbows. As opposed to excessively breaking the wrists and trying to “flick” your shot.
But let’s assume that you’re doing everything right in terms of setup but you’re still chipping inconsistently. The problem, in such situations, is your failure to get the clubhead to accelerate or speed through the golf ball.
Maintain this speed throughout contact with that ball, so the clubhead scuffs the ground or breaks through its surface, thus making sure that the leading edge is down.
Needless to say, the more you practice a repeatable, consistent setup and swing, the less you’re going to worry about your backswing length and the absolute need for decelerating through your shot to avoid striking the golf ball too far. Once consistency has improved, you can experiment with your backswing length for boosting distance control, feel, and accuracy.
Where to Position the Golf Ball for Chipping?
Either on the back or front foot and never between the feet.
If the ball is placed in between for both low and high shots, the outcome is not going to be favorable. For high shots, position the golf ball inside your right foot (more loft = ball popping up). For low shots, it should be on your back foot (less loft = ball keeping along the ground).
Should You Hit Down to Chip the Golf Ball?
Hitting down for chipping is a must because there should be enough loft on your golf club to propel the ball up into the air.
The whole aim of chipping revolves around keeping that leading edge down, which requires you to keep your hands in front of your club with your weight in the forward position. So you strike the golf ball with an angle of attack that’s negative in order to ensure proper, solid contact.
Does the Clubface Need to Be Open for Chipping?
Yes, to chip demands an open clubface based on the type of shot you’re playing.
For example, when the shot has to travel high for carrying deep rough or a bunker or hazard, open the clubface for adding loft (thus, producing good height).
While closing the clubface is the norm for when the distance between the target and you is plenty. At such times, a more closed clubface keeps that leading edge from lifting too much (hence, making way for an easier chip shot).
How to Control Chip Shot Distance?
The basic technique of chipping has been discussed, right? Now how about controlling the distance of your chip shots?
- In the case of longer chips, keep your back-and-through swing long.
- And for shorter chips, the back-and-through swing motion should be shorter.
It’s all about controlling the chipping swing length for controlling chip shot distance, so forget about hitting the golf ball harder.
How to Chip A Golf Ball and Make It Stop?
Chip shots tend to stop quickly when the backspin and golf ball angle is faultless. Now, ‘faultless’ doesn’t mean generating more backspin. Instead, increase the trajectory since this has proven to be a better approach when it comes to getting those chip shots of yours to stop promptly.
Now you know how to chip a golf ball out of the rough or over the fairway. Keep practicing your chipping technique if you want to get good at it. Experiment with different chipping methods, although the Hinge-And-Hold chipping technique of Phil Mickelson seems to work the best.
Whatever technique you choose, make sure to avoid flicking at the golf ball. It is quite a common, rookie chipping mistake. But you don’t necessarily need to “flick,” thanks to the higher loft of the golf club. So focus more on keeping everything forward at impact without any wrist flipping as you’re hitting the ball.