What Is A Chip in in Golf

A chip in golf is a type of shot that golfers use to hit the ball onto the green from a short distance away. It is an important shot for getting the ball close to the hole and saving strokes. In this article, we will explore what a chip shot is, when it is used, the technique involved, and the advantages and disadvantages of chipping.

What is a Chip Shot? 

A chip shot in golf is a short shot typically played from just off the green. The purpose of a chip shot is to land the ball on the green and have it roll towards the hole. It is used when the ball is lying within a few yards of the putting surface. Chip shots are executed with a lofted iron club, usually an 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge or sand wedge. The loft on these clubs makes it easier to get the ball airborne quickly on the short shot.

The swing used for a chip shot is abbreviated compared to a full iron swing. It involves less backswing, minimal weight transfer and accelerated hand action through the hitting zone. This allows golfers to make a short, controlled swing that lifts the ball into the air and lands it softly on the green. The ball will then release and roll out towards the target.

When to Use a Chip Shot 

Chip shots are mainly used when the ball is close to the green but just off it. Common situations where chip shots are used include:

  • When the ball is just on the fringe of the green. The thicker grass makes putting problematic, so chipping is better.
  • When the ball is in a greenside bunker. It’s challenging to putt out of a bunker, so chipping provides an easier option.
  • When the ball is near the green but in thicker rough. Again, putting through long grass is hard, so chipping is preferable.
  • When an approach shot lands just short of the green. Chipping provides the best option for getting it close to the hole.
  • Anytime the ball is within about 20 yards of the green in the rough or fairway. Chipping is accurate from this distance.

The main deciding factor on using a chip vs. another shot is distance. Anytime the ball is very close to the green but not on it, chipping is usually the better technique.

Chipping Technique

 Proper technique is crucial for executing good chip shots. Here are some key tips for chipping technique:

  • Stance: Use a narrow, open stance with feet close together facing the target. This allows free arm motion.
  • Weight distribution: Weight should favor the front foot slightly to promote ball-first contact.
  • Grip: Grip down on the club, choking down a few inches from the top. This shortens swing length.
  • Backswing: Take the club back low to the ground with wrists cocked early. Don’t swing past parallel.
  • Downswing: Release the wrists through impact, allowing the clubhead to accelerate down and through the ball. Maintain angle of backswing.
  • Contact: Make crisp, clean contact with the ball first before the turf. Ball position is forward in the stance.
  • Followthrough: Followthrough is short, hands and arms extending towards the target. Head remains down through impact.
  • Trajectory: Use loft of the club to generate sufficient trajectory to carry the ball to the green.

Practice is vital for developing good chipping skill. Factors like distance control, precision, and judgment of how the ball will roll out need to become instinctual over time.

Advantages of Chipping

 Chipping has several advantages over putting or other shot options when just off the green:

  • More accurate than putting from off the green. Chip shots allow for precision placement.
  • Easier to get close to the hole than putting from off the green. Chip and run shots stop quickly on the green.
  • Better trajectory control than putting. Chip shots can be elevated to a specific target landing point.
  • Works well out of bunkers and deep rough where putting is problematic.
  • Allows for backspin that checks the ball on the green.
  • From close range, chipping yields lower scores than any other shot option.
  • Great for recovery shots that miss the green to save strokes.

For golfers who master it, chipping is an invaluable weapon and strength for lowering scores. The top players are excellent chippers from tight lies around the green.

Disadvantages of Chipping 

While chipping does provide advantages, there are also some drawbacks:

  • Less accurate from further distances compared to pitching and full shots into the green.
  • Requires more precise execution and technique than putting. Even small errors can lead to mis-hits and poor distance control.
  • Needs consistent practice to develop a “feel” for distance and trajectory on chips.
  • Chips don’t always roll out as intended based on green conditions. Could stop too soon or release too far.
  • Easier to skull chip shots compared to other shot types, sending the ball rocketing across the green.
  • Requires creativity and judgment to weigh options like putting vs. chipping depending on lie.
  • Not as useful out of deep rough or poor lies where the club will be obstructed.

While chipping is advantageous in many situations, it ultimately comes down to the individual golfer’s confidence and proficiency level with the technique.

Key Points of Chipping

 Here are some important key points to remember about chipping technique:

  • Stance should be open with feet close together and weight slightly forward.
  • Grip down several inches on the club and take an abbreviated backswing.
  • Make crisp contact with the ball first before hitting the ground.
  • Allow loft of the club to get under the ball and lift it airborne.
  • Followthrough short and towards the target with body still.
  • Precision distance control and judgment comes with practice and experience.
  • Accelerating the clubhead through impact adds stopping power on the green.
  • Pick landing targets on the green to account for desired roll out.
  • Consider factors like green slope and firmness in judging roll distance.
  • Use imagination and creativity to decide best strategy when near green – chip vs. putt.

Mastering the chip shot is vital for scoring well in golf. It provides a way to get up and down around the greens in regulation to save critical strokes.

How to Improve Your Chipping For golfers struggling with their chipping, there are ways to improve:

  • UseAlignment sticks or boards – These provide feedback on swing path and clubface angle through impact to identify flaws.
  • Practice from different lies – Chip from manicured fairway, light rough, thick rough and even bunkers to improve feel from various surfaces.
  • Vary club selection – Work on chipping technique using wedges with different lofts to control trajectory and roll out.
  • Toss balls randomly – Challenge yourself to chip balls tossed randomly onto the practice green to improve adaptability.
  • Try the “wall drill” – Swing into a wall to ensure you’re making contact with the ball first before trapping the ball against the wall.
  • Watch videos of pro chipping – Study the technique of top players and model the important mechanics like grip, stance and impact.
  • Get feedback from a coach – Even 1 or 2 lessons from a teaching pro can provide key swing adjustments.
  • Practice distance control – Work on dialing in specific yardages by landing the chip at markers.

Great chipping requires creativity, feel, technique and precision. But with purposeful practice using drills, feedback and self-evaluation, all golfers can sharpen their short game chipping skills.


Executing quality chip shots is an essential skill for scoring well in golf. Chipping provides a way to salvage strokes when shots go awry. With proper technique and sufficient practice, golfers can master judging distance, reading greens and getting up and down from tight lies close to the green. While chipping has its challenges, the advantages of accuracy, control and recovery shots make it an invaluable shot to have in your arsenal when trying to lower scores. Mastering chipping technique takes patience and persistence, but it’s one of the areas that can benefit your scoring the most over time.

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