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Basics of chipping

by Scott Sackett, golf instructor

A chip is a low rolling shot used when the lie is good and you are close to the green. Similar to the putting stroke, the chip shot is executed with the arms and shoulders and requires quiet wrists. The chip shot is also a stroke rather than a swing. If you can learn to putt well, you can also learn to chip well.

Most good chippers maintain the same technique with each chip and simply change the club to adapt to the situation that they are facing. If you are someone who presently chips with only one club, you are likely an inconsistent chipper. This is simply due to the fact that each chipping situation is unique and, as such, requires you to use a variety of clubs if you wish to become a consistent chipper of the ball.

When chipping, remember: minimum air, maximum roll. Learn to chip the ball to a spot approximately three feet (one pace) onto the green, regardless of your distance from the green or pin.

Characteristics of chipping

grip down on the club*
firm grip pressure (1-10), around 5 or so
open stance slightly (feet parallel left to 11 o’clock)
use narrow stance
ball position slightly back of center
weight on forward foot 70/30
place hands forward of the ball
shaft upright, heel off the ground
eyes over or inside the ball just like putting
descending blow, maintain triangle in arms

* putting grip optional

Some final thoughts on chipping
There is no quick way to becoming a proficient chipper. You must work at it. I would recommend, along with your putting, that you spend at least 50 percent of your practice time working on the different short game shots that you are faced with during a round of golf.

One of the key reasons chipping becomes such an important shot during around of golf is because the average amateur is hitting approximately three to six greens per round, which breaks down to approximately 25 percent of greens in regulation (GIR); conversely, your top 10 tour players are hitting 71 percent of GIR. With that thought in mind it’s not hard to see why this shot is vital to your scoring arsenal.