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Master Chipping Around the Green: Tips & Techniques

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chipping around the green

Mastering the art of chipping around the green is essential for any golfer looking to improve their overall game and lower their scores. As a significant aspect of the short game, chipping can often make or break your round. Whether it’s saving par or setting up an easy birdie opportunity, being confident and skilled in chipping will lead to better results on the course.

Learning to chip around the green in golf is so important! Chipping is like the secret weapon in your golf game. It’s the difference between a bogey and a birdie, between winning and losing. I remember the first time I learned to chip properly, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Suddenly, I was able to get my ball closer to the hole with ease and my scores started dropping like crazy. And let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than nailing a chip shot and watching your ball roll right into the cup. So if you want to take your golf game to the next level, you gotta learn to chip like a champ!

Here at The Golf Experts, we’ve learned first hand the importance of chipping around the green. This article will cover the basics of chipping, including the importance of club selection, setup, and stance to bring your best game to the golf course and turn those bogeys to pars and those pars to birdies. 

What is Chipping?

Chipping is an essential aspect of the short game, where golfers use a lofted club to make a short, controlled golf swing to briefly get the golf ball up in the air and land on the green. The goal is to have the ball roll toward the hole, making it easier to save par or set up a birdie opportunity.

Why Is Chipping Important in Golf?

Chipping around the green is crucial because it can significantly impact your scores. Golfers can save a putting stroke by mastering chip shots and consistently lowering their scores. Developing a solid short game, including chipping, is often the key to breaking through scoring barriers and reaching new levels of success in chipping the ball perfectly.

Key Components of a Good Chip Shot

  • Club selection: Choosing the right club for your chip shot is critical, as it will determine the ball’s flight, roll, and overall result. Standard clubs used for chipping include sand wedges, pitch shots wedges, gap wedges, and lob wedges. Each club offers different loft and bounce characteristics, which can affect the shot.
  • Setup and stance: To chip effectively, stand closer to the ball with your feet slightly open and the ball positioned more towards your back foot. This setup promotes a descending blow and solid contact with the ball. Put most of your weight on your lead foot, and keep your hands ahead of the clubface with a slight forward shaft lean.
  • Swing and follow-through: A proper chip shot swing should primarily be a simple, controlled motion, using your upper body and minimal wrist hinge. The swing’s length will depend on the distance you need to cover. Focus on maintaining a steady tempo and making solid contact with the ball. The clubface should be slightly open to help get the ball up in the air and create more control.
chipping around the green

Essential Chipping Techniques

The Bump-and-Run

The bump-and-run is a versatile chip shot that can be used in various situations around the green. It involves a low trajectory shot with minimal airtime and more roll, making it an excellent option for fast greens or when there’s plenty of short grass between you and the hole.

Ideal conditions for using the bump-and-run:

  • Fast greens
  • Short grass between the ball and the hole
  • Straightforward, level ground

How to execute the bump-and-run:

  • Club selection: Choose a club with less loft, such as a pitching wedge or a 9-iron.
  • Ball position: Place the ball slightly back in your stance.
  • Setup: Stand closer to the ball with a narrow stance and your hands slightly ahead of the clubface.
  • Swing: Make a putting motion with minimal wrist hinge, focusing on a smooth tempo and solid contact.

The Pitch-and-Check

The pitch-and-check is a chip shot that generates more airtime, allowing the golf ball to land softly and stop quickly on the green. This technique is ideal when you must carry over obstacles or quickly stop the ball on slower greens.

When to use the pitch-and-check technique:

  • Slower greens
  • Obstacles between the ball and the hole
  • Short-sided shots

Proper execution of the pitch-and-check:

  • Club selection: Use a lofted club like a sand wedge or lob wedge.
  • Ball position: Place the ball slightly forward in your stance.
  • Setup: Stand slightly open with a narrow stance, weight on your lead foot, and hands ahead of the clubface.
  • Swing: Maintain a controlled, smooth tempo, allowing for a slight wrist hinge and a slightly open clubface.

The Flop Shot

The flop shot is a high, soft-landing chip shot that requires more skill and precision but can be highly effective when executed correctly. It’s ideal when you need to carry the ball over a hazard or stop it quickly on a downslope. Mastering the flop shot will definitely help with your chipping around the green

Situations where the flop shot is useful:

  • Downsloping greens
  • Bunkers or other hazards between the ball and the hole
  • Tight lies

Mastering the flop shot technique:

  • Club selection: Use a high-lofted club like a lob wedge.
  • Ball position: Position the ball forward in your stance.
  • Setup: Open your stance and clubface, and keep your hands behind the ball.
  • Swing: Make a full swing with a fast tempo and wrist hinge, sliding the club under the ball to create maximum loft and spin.
chipping around the green

Factors Affecting Chip Shots

The Lie of the Ball

The position of the golf ball on the ground plays a crucial role in determining the success of your chip shot. To get a solid hit and the right ball flight from different lies, you need to use different techniques and choose different clubs.

  • Tight lies: For short grass or hard ground shots, choose a club with more bounce and a shallower leading edge, such as a sand wedge or gap wedge. Focus on making a descending blow with a slightly open clubface to promote clean contact.
  • Fluffy lies: Use a club with more loft, like a lob wedge, in these situations. Be mindful of maintaining a consistent swing tempo and making solid contact with the ball.

Green Conditions

The speed and firmness of the greens can significantly affect your chip shots. Slower greens require more airtime, while fast greens demand a lower trajectory and more roll.

  • Slower greens: Use a more lofted club, such as a lob wedge, to generate a higher ball flight and soft landing.
  • Fast greens: Opt for a lower-lofted club, like a pitching wedge or 9-iron, to promote a bump-and-run shot with more roll.

Wind

Wind can influence chip shots by altering the ball’s trajectory and affecting distance control. So, when planning your shot, you should think about the direction and strength of the wind and adjust your club choice and swing accordingly.

  • Into the wind: Use a more lofted club and a fuller swing to counteract the wind’s effects.
  • Downwind: Choose a less lofted club and focus on keeping the ball low with a controlled swing.

Personal Preferences and Skill Level

Each golfer has unique strengths and weaknesses, which can influence their chipping success. So, in order to choose the best way to chip around the green, you need to know your preferences and skill level.

  • Club selection: Experiment with different clubs to find the ones that work best for you in various situations.
  • Swing adjustments: Modify your swing, stance, and grip to accommodate your skill level and preferences.

Common Chipping Mistakes & Fixes

Scooping the Ball

One of the most common chipping mistakes is trying to scoop or lift the ball into the air, which leads to poor contact and inconsistent results.

Fix: Maintain a forward shaft lean throughout the swing, with your hands ahead of the ball at impact. This promotes a descending blow and ensures proper contact with the ball.

Decelerating Through Impact

Slowing down the swing through impact is another common mistake that makes it hard to control contact and distance.

Fix: Focus on maintaining a smooth and consistent tempo throughout the swing. Accelerate through impact and ensure a confident follow-through.

Poor Setup and Stance

An improper setup and stance can negatively impact your chipping consistency and accuracy.

Fix: Stand closer to the ball with a narrow stance, weight on your lead foot, and hands ahead of the clubface. This promotes a stable base and helps maintain a consistent swing plane.

Overusing Wrist Action

When chipping, if you bend your wrist too much, you can lose control and make inconsistent contact.

Fix: Minimize wrist hinge, especially for bump-and-run shots. Allow a slight wrist hinge for higher shots, but maintain control throughout the swing.

Poor Club Selection

Choosing the wrong club for a particular shot can result in undesired outcomes, such as a lack of distance control or an improper trajectory.

Fix: Familiarize yourself with the different clubs in your bag and their specific uses. Consider factors such as lie, green conditions, and wind when selecting the appropriate club for each shot. Practise how far the ball travels when chipping with each club. See our detailed guide on what club to use for chipping around the green

Practice Drills to Improve Chipping

The Ladder Drill

This drill focuses on improving distance control and touch around the green.

  • Place several targets (e.g., towels, hula hoops, or golf tees) at various distances from your chipping location.
  • Chip to each target, attempting to land the ball as close to the target as possible.
  • Move through the targets in ascending order, then reverse the process and chip to the targets in descending order.
  • Practice with different clubs to develop a feel for various trajectories and distances.

The One-Handed Drill

This drill helps refine your chipping technique and promotes proper wrist hinge and clubface control.

  • Hold the club with your lead hand, placing your trail hand behind your back.
  • Chip several balls, focusing on maintaining proper wrist hinge and clubface control.
  • Once comfortable, add your trail hand back to the grip and continue chipping, maintaining the same feel and control.

The Clock Drill

This drill improves your ability to handle different lies and angles around the green.

  • Place 12 balls around the green in a clock formation, each representing a different hour on the clock.
  • Chip each ball to the hole, focusing on adjusting your stance, club selection, and swing to accommodate the various lies and angles.
  • Repeat the drill, changing locations and distances to challenge yourself further.

Further Reading – For the most comprehensive guide on chipping, including flop shots, bump and runs, and bunker shots, see our golf chipping and golf chipping technique pages.

Conclusion

Chipping around the green is a crucial game aspect that can significantly impact your scores. By understanding the fundamentals of chipping, selecting the right club, and considering various factors affecting chip shots, you can improve your short game and lower your scores. Also, consider using a chipper – there is alot of bad press attached to using a chipper around the green, but if gets you closer to the hole, are really going to care?

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AUTHOR

Tommy is a confirmed golf fanatic. He's been playing golf for 20 years and just loves everything about the game. His dad used to play golf a lot and watch the PGA and European Tours, so Tommy started watching too. Now he knows a lot about golf and loves to coach people and help them play better.

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