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What You Need to Know About How to Chip in Golf

How to chip in golf: golf ball flying

Imagine you hit your approach shot just off the green. You are pin-high and need to get your next shot close to have a great chance at par. You pull a wedge from your bag, perform your pre-shot routine, and hit your chip shot — only to send the golf ball flying across to the other side of the green, ruining your chance at an easy par.

If this has ever happened to you, you may want to focus on learning how to hit a chip shot. A chip shot is one with a low trajectory that typically occurs around the green and spends more time on the ground than it does in the air. Learning how to chip can bail you out of trouble, put you in a better position to make putts, and ultimately take strokes off your game.

We’re here today to teach you how to chip in golf. We’ll start with the basics and then dive into why chipping is such an important skill to learn. Then, we’ll specifically go over how to chip and what the differences are between chipping and pitching. By the end of this article, you should have a much better idea of what you need to do to improve your chipping technique.

Golf Chipping — The Basics

As mentioned, a chip shot is one with a low trajectory in which the ball spends more time rolling on the ground than it does in the air. There are several different chipping styles, but one of the most common methods is to chip similar to a putting stroke. You will use a back-to-forth motion like a pendulum with limited wrist hinge in the backswing. The chip is usually a shorter stroke where the golf club won’t be more than parallel to the ground — if it even gets that high.

Having said that, a chip does have a few differences from a putt. First and foremost, a chip will spend a bit of time in the air. A putt, on the other hand, is rolled across the green and shouldn’t leave the ground.

Second, the type of golf club you use for each shot will vary. You’ll use a putter when putting, but you’ll use a lofted club like an 8-iron, pitching wedge, or sand wedge  when chipping. 

Lastly, you mainly putt when you are on the green, but you use a chip shot when you are near the green, whether it be in the fairway, fringe, or rough.

Chipping is a critical component of a golfer’s short game. Let’s take a closer look at why learning how to chip in golf is so important.

Why Learning How to Chip in Golf Is Important

Learning how to chip in golf is important because it can be the difference between being a low and high handicapper. If your ball is just off the green, you want to be able to set yourself up for a makeable putt. 

A good chipper will understand:

  • Distance control
  • The proper target line, as you may need to account for breaks in the green
  • Ball roll, especially if there is backspin on the ball

Improving your chipping game can mean the difference between a one-putt and a two-putt, which will ultimately take strokes off your game.

How to Chip in Golf: 5 Steps

How to chip in golf: golfer's at a golf course

Now that you understand what chipping is and why it’s important, it’s time to explore how to chip in golf. Below is a step-by-step guide to hitting a chip shot.

1. Choose Your Club

When chipping, you can choose from different clubs. Typically, a standard chip will have you using a short iron or a wedge.

If you are close to the green’s edge and far from the pin, you could consider hitting a bump-and-run. With this shot, you’ll use the same chipping technique. However, you’ll use a club with a little less loft, like an 8 iron.

The loft of the clubhead will determine how much time your ball spends in the air. A higher loft club, like a lob wedge, will go higher than a club with less loft, like an 8 iron. The ball will roll more when you hit a chip shot with a lower trajectory.

2. Pick Your Target Line

Too often, amateur golfers think they need to hit their shot directly at the hole, without accounting for things like the break of the green. You should take time to read your chip like a putt. Understand where you want to land the ball on the green.

3. Setup Properly

When you set up for a chip shot, you’ll want the ball position to be toward the middle or back of your stance. Ideally, you’ll make contact with the ball right at the bottom of your downswing. You may need to play around with different types of clubs and lies to figure out the setup point that works best for you.

Next, you’ll want to take an athletic stance, with your arms hanging beneath your shoulders. Shift your weight forward so that the majority of your weight is on your front foot. However, keep your shoulders level. You want to ensure you hit down on the ball and that you do not try to pop the ball up.

4. Maintain a Strong Wrist Through Contact

On your backswing, you’ll want to keep your wrists firm. Move the club with your shoulders and upper body without hinging your wrist. You should not be taking a full swing when chipping.

A right-handed golfer will want to make sure they maintain a strong left wrist and vice versa. Make sure to still implement a slight takeaway in this golf swing. Then, pivot your hips and focus on making solid contact with the ball.

The Difference Between Chipping and Pitching

Chipping is one type of short game shot. There is another that is commonly used: the pitch shot. These terms are often used synonymously when they are in fact two different types of golf shots.

As mentioned previously, a chip shot is perhaps the best golf shot to use when you are off the green but need to produce a shot that will travel with a lot of roll.

A pitch shot, on the other hand, includes a wrist hinge. As the PGA describes, “The chip shot is a one-lever move where more of the shoulders are used without a wrist hinge, whereas a pitch shot is a two-lever movement that includes the trunk and the wrist.”

Essentially, you’ll use a pitch shot when you are further away from the green. You’ll likely use a chip shot when you are greenside. Both, however, are excellent shots to have in your bag to help put you in a good position to make putts and ultimately get better at golf.

Learning How to Chip in Golf Can Take Strokes off Your Game

Golfer's playing golf

Mastering your short game takes time, but it can pay off tremendously. One short game shot that you’ll want to make sure you have in the bag is a chip shot. Chipping is something you’ll do when close to the green.

Learning how to chip in golf takes time, but practicing could take strokes off your game. A good chip will put you in a position to make more putts, ultimately having a direct impact on your score.

Whether you’re looking for chipping drills or to improve the fundamentals of your swing, turn to Skillest. Skillest offers access to highly trained coaches from the convenience of your living room or local golf course. Learn more about how a Skillest coach can help you improve your game.