In the average round of golf, roughly 70% of shots are made from 120 yards or less from the pin. That means, your chip shots is key to taking those extra strokes off. A chip shot is a low-trajectory flight that rolls further than it flies. A pitch, by contrast, flies higher, carries farther, and rolls less.
Start with the right club. Save the wedge for pitching and use an 8 iron as a middle and work up or down the numbers depending on the distance. This little chart will give you a rough guideline:
- 9 Iron – For every foot in the air the ball will roll about 2 feet.
- 8 Iron – For every foot in the air, rolls approximately 3 feet.
- 7 Iron – For every foot in the air, ball rolls about 4 feet, etc
Importance Of Stance In Chip Shots
As always, stance is important so be sure your feet are close together, for shorter shots, slightly wider for longer chip shots. About one foot apart for medium shots.
Your stance should be open at about 30 degrees, with the club face directed at the target. Shift your weight slightly (about 60%) on to your lead foot. (Left foot for right-handed golfers, right foot for left-handers.)
Your hands should be positioned ahead of the club head and they lead the head through the shot. Most bad chip shots happen when the club head overtakes your hands.
Ball Position & Chipping Errors
Ball position should be slightly back of center, off the trailing foot toe.
Take the club back with the shoulders, no wrist break, with your hands leading the clubhead on the downswing. To check this: Grip your club far down the shaft and hit some practice chips. If the handle strikes you, you’re breaking your wrists. The handle will stay well away from you if your wrist action is right.
You’ll feel a tendency to point your shoulders left, because of the open stance. But keep a check on it; shoulders should line up parallel to the target line. But be aware of your lower body, as well. When it’s rigid, you’re overdoing it.
The basic stroke is the familiar pendulum Golf swing Balance and Posture using just the shoulders and arms. Since you’re not driving the ball long distances, your backswing should be relatively shorter. As a guideline, if you golf swing back to your waist, and accelerate the clubhead down, the average golfer will shoot the ball in excess of 25 yards. Adjust the amount of backswing for the distance.
Common Golf Chip Shots Errors
The two most common errors in chipping are chunkers that fall too far short and skulls that fly past the green.
Chunkers are the result of hitting up. Be careful not to get too far under the ball, hitting the ground. Don’t scoop it. But don’t go too far in the other direction and hit the top of the ball with a rising or leading edge. That causes a low shot that overshoots the pin. Just slide the head barely under the ball in a smooth pendulum motion, keeping your wrists still.
Experiment with different clubs to find out what works best for your height and strength for a given distance. Pretty soon, you’ll be in the chips!