Golf is game of surgical precision. Good is not good enough, it has to be better. Your finesse in the game is focused mostly on getting the golf ball onto the greens. A chip shot does the honors in most cases. Chip shot is taken when the golf ball is swaddled in grass or on a slope within a few yards of the putting area. This shot lands the ball within a couple of feet of the hole. It includes part flying and part rolling of the ball, based on your distance to the front of the green and its distance from the pin-placement. This is as tactical a shot as putting. You must practice how to chip a shot in golf if you want to move up in the leagues.
This tutorial explains how to chip a golf ball: the stance of the golfer, the alignment, the movement and the required position of the ball. It also gives you thumb rule for selecting the right golf club while chipping. Nothing but practice can help you chip the ball right. But armed with these points for reference, you will know what markers to look out for and what mistakes to avoid.
A. What Do You Need To Follow This Tutorial?
- Sand Wedge: Sand wedge is the most commonly-used club in the bag when you have to chip a shot. It has the right loft and bounce for landing the golf ball near the pin. Read more about sand wedge and why you should have it in your arsenal here.
- Lob wedge: A lob wedge replaces the sand wedge for many golfers. This has a slightly higher loft than the sand wedge. But they both perform equally well when you are within 5-10 yards of the greens.
- Pitching wedge: A pitching wedge is also used to chip in golf when the roll required is longer than the flight of the golf ball.
- 7-, 8-, 9- iron: These clubs were used in the past by professional golfers for a rolling chip. They are useful when distance from boundary of the greens to the hole is much larger than that from your position to the greens boundary.
- Golf rangefinder: It will be great to have a golf rangefinder give you precise distances to the pin. The ratio of distances is an important factor in deciding which club to use. But fret not, if you don’t have a rangefinder. Measure the distances in paces.
- A golf stand bag: We would avoid picking the golf clubs off the ground for practice every time. Use a golf stand bag to store the golf clubs while you practise how to chip a golf ball.
B. Golf Chipping Tips - Step By Step Intruction:
#1. Club selection:
The choice of clubs for chipping a shot in golf depends on an important factor, simply called Ratio. Ratio here refers to :
For the numerator distance, measure from the ball position to up to 1 foot into the greens.
So an ideally chip shot should fly the ball from the rough to approximately 1 foot into the greens and roll it from there up to the hole. If you are standing at a similar distance from the rough to the green as the edge to the ball, then the Ratio is 1:1. If the pin is further down the green, the ratio could be 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 or maximum 1:5.
A sand wedge is used in most cases when the Ratio is 1:1. As the ratio increases the clubs change for longer roll. This is a rough table for reference whenever you want to select a club for chip shot:
Sand Wedge/Lob Wedge
Do note that these recommendations are for leveled ground between the ball and the hole. If the ball has to travel uphill or downhill the clubs need to be added or subtracted. So if the ball should go uphill, consider the 1:3 Ratio as 1:4 ratio and use an 8-Iron. If the ball has to roll downhill, use a pitching wedge instead of a 9-iron.
#2. Chip Shot vs Pitch Shot:
Photo Credit : https://www.golftec.com/
Chip shot and pitch shots are two different concepts. You chip a shot when you are close to the greens and the distance to the edge of the greens is equal to or shorter than the distance from the edge to the pin. In short, the ball must fly less than or equal to it rolls.
Photo Credit : https://www.golftec.com/
Pitch shots are taken when you are a long way from greens (up to 100 yards). Here the distance from the ball to the edge of the greens to higher. So the ball in pitch shot flies more distance than it rolls.
#3. Ball Position:
When you chip a shot in golf, the ball position relative to your body can make a lot of difference. Make sure you stand with your sternum in line with the ball and the ball in the middle of your stance. As the clubhead traces its trajectory, it should hit the ball right before the path bottoms out. If the balls hits the ground first and then the ball, the latter will be launched into a lengthy trajectory to the other side of the green. You will have to chip a shot again to get it anywhere near the hole.
#4. Chipping Grip:
Chip shot is an act of precision. To have complete control over the golf club, you must grip it properly. Make sure that the grips of the clubs are not worn off. Wipe off any sweat that might cause the club to slip from your grasp.
#5. Align Your Body:
Photo Credit : http://www.golfdigest.com/story/todd-anderson-chip-pitch-lob
Imagine a target line to the hole. Keep the club behind the ball on the target line. Position your body while maintaining the club position. The feet must be placed parallel with a distance of your one foot between them. Both your feet must aim forward straight. Your shoulders must be parallel to the target line. This aids in bringing down the club exactly on the target line. Keep your hips apart to distribute the strain from upper body movement during the chip shot.
Your shoulders and your arms will form a downward triangle in the correct stance. Move this triangle as it is for the backswing of the chip shot. If you have let the hips stay open, you will find them turning to keep the triangle intact. There will be more pressure on your left foot now.
The triangle of your shoulders and your arms will move downwards as it is. The arms, hips and left leg will move to accommodate that movement. Your arms and body should move together. Otherwise the club will lag. Make sure your left wrist stays flat. You can tape a pencil over it so that its point reminds you to keep the wrist straight. You might be tempted to move the wrist and hit the ball. But that will waste the energy you expended in swinging back. The weight stays on the left foot.
The triangle remains intact. At the impact of the chip shot, the clubface should be on the target line, right behind the ball, for a fruitful shot. You almost look the same you looked at address. However, make sure that the clubface doesn’t hit the turf before hitting the ball. This can be done by keeping the chest straight. If you arch, the downswing will bottom out before the impact. The wrists must stay flat though the impact.
Hold the follow through position until the golf ball reaches its destination. The residual feeling of the chip shot gives you a lot of information about its mechanics. So if you chipped right, you can recall the motion and repeat it.
These points are guidelines on how to chip a shot. Experiment with different stances and distances between your feet to see what gets you a better result.
Practice the good shots over and over again. This forms a mental impression that helps chip the golf ball successfully more consistently.
Playing a chip shot is a critical juncture in your game. Rarely does anyone hit greens in regulation on every hole. Only a select few do, like Jim Furyk during Travelers Championship, 2016. So chipping becomes somewhat of a necessary skill. Having the difference between pitching and chipping cleared allows us to find the right tutorials online. The swing mechanics here are slightly different from regular golf swings due to the measured nature of the chip shot. We have tried to describe it as visually as possible. The table for selecting the golf club will be ease your mind when you are confused near the greens. Research apart, do practise the chip shots repeatedly for consistent good results on the golf course.
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