Golf Chipping Tips
Golf Chipping Grip
A chip shot is a short shot that is designed to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.
A chip shot is usually performed with a club such as an 8 iron or 9 iron. Since you will not be making a full swing with these clubs the hand placement will be a little different than with a full swing.
The grip you use for chipping should be the same grip that you use while making a full swing.
The main difference will be where on the club the hands actually are placed.
Because the chip shot is such a short shot, the entire length of the club is not needed, so the hands should be further down the grip towards the shaft.
This gives the golfer greater control of the club head during the stroke.
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Golf Chipping Setup
Eyes not over the Ball
With a chip shot, the club you will be using is much longer than the putter, and there is more loft on the club.
Because of this, you will set up further away from the ball and your eyes will not be directly over the ball.
The best way to determine how far away to stand from the ball when chipping is to grip the club with your hands towards the grip as we discussed in the previous section.
- Set the club behind the ball with the clubface square to the target.
- With your grip still on the club set up to the ball as if you were going to hit the shot.
- Take your right hand off the club and let it dangle.
- Now swing it under your left hand which is still holding the club.
- If your right hand hits your left hand, stand a little further away from the ball so that your right hand can swing just between your body and the left hand holding the club.
Chipping Shot Alignment
Alignment and Posture
Once you have set the clubface behind the ball square to the target line, you will set your feet, hips, and shoulders parallel to this line just like you did when putting.
The only difference will be that you will now aim your feet, only your feet, slightly left of this target line. The hips and shoulders should still feel like they are parallel to the target line.
The reason for this is to allow the shoulders and hands swing down the target line with less resistance. You will set your feet about 6 inches apart.
This is a very narrow stance, which helps you keep your balance throughout the chip shot.
Chipping Shot Hand Position
You should feel like you are standing fairly tall to the ball, with just the slightest knee bend.
The position of your hands should be just in front of the front thigh. This is the left thigh if you are a right handed golfer.
The position of the ball in relation to the stance should be towards the back foot.
This ball position combined with the forward position of the hands at set-up will ensure that the head of the club traps the ball and uses the loft on the club head the way it was designed.
The weight during a chip shot should not shift from back to front. Just like with putting, the less excess body movement, the better the shot.
For this reason the weight should feel like it is towards the left side throughout the chipping stroke. By doing this there is no need to shift the weight back and then forward, which might lead to too much lower body movement.
The Chip Shot
The chip shot is a shot designed to get the ball over a small amount of grass and on the ground and rolling as soon as possible.
A chip shot has less airtime and more ground time. I like to think of it as a putt with loft.
The motion needed to hit a chip shot properly is the same motion needed to hit a full shot properly.
If you were to look at the impact position of a chip shot and compare it with the impact position of a full shot, they will look almost exactly alike when it comes to the position of the hands at impact.
That is why practicing chipping can actually help your full swing.
What Club Should You Use?
What I mean by this, is that through practice and trial and error, you can develop different shots with different clubs, but a good club to start out with to get a good idea of how the chip shot works would be a 9 iron.
A 9 iron has enough loft on it to actually see the ball get in the air when you hit a proper chip, but it will still get a good amount of roll so you can see the benefit of hitting a chip shot.
Once you practice your chipping, though, you will find out that the combination of clubs and shots you can hit are endless.
You will eventually find a club that you come to depend on around the green, but you should always try different clubs to make sure you are taking a look at the shot through all perspectives.
The Chipping Stroke
The chipping stroke is very similar to the putting stroke. The biggest difference is in the loft of the clubs.
Because the putter has very little loft (2-4 degrees) the hands stay fairly even with the club head throughout the stroke.
When chipping, you are using a club that can have anywhere from 30 degrees of loft to 56 degrees of loft, and in order to use the loft the way the club was designed, the hands must be leaning towards the target at impact and be ahead of the club head.
The Chipping technique I am about to explain, will help you accomplish this, and will actually help your full swing in the long run.
Using Your Shoulders For The Chip Shot
If you are set-up properly, with the hands in front of your front thigh and the ball back in the stance, all you should have to do to hit a proper chip shot is rock the shoulders back and through with the wrists and hands remaining firm and brush the grass underneath the ball.
The importance of keeping the wrists firm is essential. The No. 1 cause of bad chip shots is loose wrists and hands.
A good way to make sure that your hands and wrists are not breaking down is to look at the grip end of the club after the shot.
- If it is pointing at your body, you let your wrists break down.
- If it is pointing straight up towards the sky, you have made a good chipping stroke.
To understand this a little better, place a tee in the hole at the end of your grip. After your chipping stroke, you never want that tee pointing at you. To accomplish this you must really feel like your wrists stay firm through the entire stroke.
A proper chip shot will feel like you are trapping the ball with a descending blow. The ball will make a wonderfully effortless click off the face, hop up in the air a little bit, land on the green with a little check, and then start rolling end over end towards the target
The Skull Shot
A skull shot is when the ball shoots across the green because the ball was hit above the equator of the ball. It is also known as a worm burner.
The reason this happens is due to a wristy stroke. If the wrists break down during the chipping stroke this means that the hands are now behind the club head.
When this happens the part of the club head that is going towards the ball is the leading edge, which causes a skull shot.
A chunk or fat chip shot is when you hit the ground behind the ball and the ball doesn’t go very far at all. It can be caused by a number of issues.
The main reason is usually letting the wrists break down. Sometimes when the wrists break down the club enters the ground just behind the ball and causes a fat shot.
Another reason for a chunk could be deceleration instead of acceleration. If you do not use the pendulum motion which ensures acceleration it is possible to quit at the ball instead of swinging through it.
This can result in the club entering the ground behind the ball as well.
Coming out of your posture and unnecessary body movement can also cause this. Again, the only movement necessary to hit a proper chip is the shoulders rocking back and through.
Sometimes it is common to help the ball up with a chip shot and this causes the center of the stroke, which is near the sternum, to move and once that happens a chunk shot is inevitable.
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