In golf, chipping refers to the lateral movement of the club from the hand to the ball in order to make a shot. Despite its popularity, I don’t often use chipping as a strategy in my short game, but it’s always useful to know what to do with the club if I get stuck behind some trees.
Chipping is a simple, but essential shot in golf. Chipping is a shot you want to practice lots so that you can get that solid chipping stroke down. There are some very simple things you can practice to improve your chipping game. Here’s our top 3 lessons on how to improve your chipping game.
Avoid Hitting Thin-Like Chips
It’s not necessarily bad to chip thick or thin, but you want to stay away from thin-like chips. You want to create a solid, penetrating effect so that the ball goes off the edge of the green and onto the green – or slightly behind the hole.
When you hit thin chips, you can’t control where the ball goes off the green. The same goes for thick chips. If the ball has a thick enough surface, it’s going to be a little too deep for the hole. If the ball touches the green right at the edge but rolls back into the bunker, then you’ve got a short chip. If the ball rolls to the edge and then falls into the bunker, then you’re just short.
That’s what thin-like chips are. They’re chips that leave a little more of a surface area. You might hit a 15-20 degree chip and it goes a little long for the hole or it rolls in short. Long chips are always a little difficult to hit. I have one at my house, it’s a 45-degree. It rolls 40-50 yards or so. But it’s about a half inch off the green and that gets you trouble.
Stick To The Green
The key to getting a consistent strike on your chips is to keep your ball on the green. I see a lot of beginners not getting great bounces on their chips and then just trying to chip to where the hole is. You’ve got to start your ball behind the hole on the green.
You want to bring it in level with the hole to help get it started before it starts rolling, because when you start rolling, you’ll lose that control. You don’t want to think about where the hole is, just where you are. If you hit your chip short and the ball starts rolling toward the pond, then you’ve got problems.
It’s much better to chip away at the slope and make your chip a little longer. Instead of just chipping short, you want to chip away at the slope so that the ball starts moving downhill and rolls to the green. The same goes for taking dead-away chip shots.
If you start on the slope and then go down and lift the ball off the ground, it tends to come out a little flat because the ball was not buried in the turf. The key to hitting a chipping shot is to start on the green and work your way away.
Work on Your Chipping Swing
First and foremost, you want to get a good, strong forward roll with your hips. As you’re trying to move the ball, it’s important to have good rhythm and time to your swing. Get a good launch angle and then roll it through the impact zone and try to keep the ball in the hole.
Again, practice in the grass and then in the rough or sand. If you’re practicing in the fairway, then focus on getting the ball on the green. If you have a couple of days to spare and you’re not working, go hit some courses with your buddies. Sometimes, if you’re out in the backyard or at the range, the ball might bounce a lot more than what you’re used to.
When you get to a course, you want to try and get the ball to roll nicely. But as soon as you start working on your short game, you’re going to notice that the ball tends to hit a lot flatter. One way to simulate that is to take a 9-iron and try to hit it right down the middle. You’ll take the same club and the ball just spins right through the green. Practicing in the fairway and practicing from the rough or sand will help you gain a feel for what to do with the ball.
Don’t get caught up in chipping for the longest time. Once you get that first one, then go to the short game. Punching the ball is much easier than chipping, so concentrate on developing that skill first. Punching is where you’re putting the ball down on the ground to a point where you can chip it out.
As you keep practicing, you’ll get a better feel for the ball going down and right to the hole. Punching isn’t easy because it requires you to have more weight on your front foot. You’ll also have to strike the ball faster, which can be tough at times. But once you get the basics down, then you can really focus on chipping.