How to Chip a Golf Ball Like a Pro
Golf is a wonderful game, enjoyed by over 26 million Americans, according to Golflink.com based on the latest data. It ought to be so simple. You hit the ball exactly where you want it to go, you go to that point and hit it again. Eventually, the ball goes into the hole. However, hitting the ball consistently and scoring around par is challenging. Even the best professionals on the PGA tour don’t always make the cut. As Hank Aaron said humorously, “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.”
While a lot of public attention is paid to the pros who can hit their drives a “country mile,” the important fact is that about half of many golfers’ strokes are taken within about 75 yards of the hole. So, mastering the chip shot can be one of the fastest ways to lower one’s golf score.
What’s Considered a Chip Shot in Golf?
A chip shot—a key part of “the short game,” is used to cover a short distance. It is typically played from within 50 yards from the green. This can include a shot from the fringe or from the fairway short of the green. It is intended to pop briefly into the air then bounce on the ground and roll toward the hole. A chip shot can be used when the ball is in the rough just a few yards from the hole and the golfer doesn’t want the ball to fly too far. It can also be used to overcome a small hill or elevation that is in the golfer’s path.
Which Clubs are Used for Chipping the Ball?
Technically, a chip shot could be played around a green with any golf club from a 5-iron to a sand wedge, with the basic idea of getting the ball onto the green and rolling toward the hole. The key factors in determining which club to use are the distance from the hole, any obstacles in the way, being in the rough, and angle of approach. For example, if there are 15 feet between the line of the ball and the hole, a more lofted club is called for, like a lob wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge, or pitching wedge, so the ball doesn’t run too far. If there is more distance, say 60 feet a 7, 8, or 9 iron may be more appropriate, yielding a longer hit and longer roll. If the ball is in longer grass, a more lofted club will be a better choice. For very short distances, there is also a club called a putter chipper or simply “chipper.”
9 Ways to Chip Better with These Basics
Follow these basic tips to get better with chipping:
- Choose the right club for the situation.
- Aim your body slightly ahead of the ball, with the center of your chest drawing a parallel line with the location of the ball.
- Keep your arms back and chest up throughout the course of the swing.
- The feet should be firmly planted on the ground with the feet placed about 12 inches apart, both feet parallel and facing directly forward.
- Hold the club firmly.
- Practice making phantom contact with the ball as you prepare for the actual swing.
- Swing with your full upper body to maximize control.
- Swing downward, positioning the club versus the ball so that the lowest point of the club is right at the ball or slightly behind it.
- Swing through after the club has made contact with the ball, leaving your club back in the air.
Improve Your Short Game Today
With all the elements of this great game, practice is critical. As Tiger Woods said, “No matter how good you get, you can always get better — and that’s the exciting part.”
To enhance regular practice, get a golf practice mat for home or outdoor use. High-quality golf mats are available from Rawhide Golf Ball Co. in 60”x 60” size with a tee hole on each of the four sides. They are sturdily built with a half-inch underlayment and a one-inch thick turf. Reliable and long-lasting, a mat can “up your practice game” considerably.