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Short Game

Chip Shots

A chip shot is executed close to the green and should be thought of as putt with loft. The only wrist action is a natural flex on longer chips.


The set-up to execute a chip shot is as important as the shot itself.  The biggest reason players struggle with chipping is lack of knowledge.  Being successful and building your chip shot ability can be achieved by understanding a few basics.


First, narrow your stance and open it up by pulling your left foot back about an inch and a half and rotating it towards your target 20 to 30 degrees.  Your heels should be no more than six to eight inches apart with the majority of your weight on the left side.  The width of your stance and weight shift will minimize body motion and increase your touch and control.  The open stance will allow you to swing out toward your target.

Second, grip down on the club at least an inch or more depending on your comfort zone.  You may grip all the way down to the metal if it feels comfortable.  Gripping down shortens the club length, and enhances your feel.


Not only should you grip down but you should stand as close to the ball as comfortable with the ball position slightly in front of center. This enables you to take a crisp swing (just brushing through the grass) without hitting the ball too far.  Your hands need to lead the shot and should be kept ahead of the ball, both at address and throughout the swing.  In the follow through, always make sure your right hand beats your club head to or past the left knee.


Avoid mistakes by not trying special moves or fancy shots. It’s just a short backswing controlled by the arms. The longer the chip, the farther I bring the club back, but it’s rare that my hands swing as far as waist-height.


Chip Shots - Club Selection

If you don’t use the same club from 80, 100, 120 or 150 yards, why would use the same club around the greens?  You don’t have to be an accomplished golfer to be a good chipper.  In fact, having a great imagination and soft hands will help you become a better chipper.  Good greenside chipping can be mastered by doing something that doesn’t take much talent at all, and that is the ability to select the proper club.  This will give you confidence and the capacity to focus solely on the shot at hand.


Most golfers that have problems with chipping use the same club to hit to varying flag distances changing the swing each time rather than the club.  In my opinion, the best approach in this case is to use the same swing and simply change clubs.


For example, if you are greenside and the flag is close, use your wedge.  If in the same greenside position with the flag 40 to 50 feet away, use the same swing with a less lofted club, like a 6 or 7 iron and watch the ball hit and roll out.


Make effective use of your short game practice time by experimenting with your clubs. The following club information is a staring point and should be modified to fit course conditions and green speed


  • A Sand Wedge will fly a little less than ¾ the way and roll out a little more than ¼ of the way.

  • A Pitching Wedge will fly a little less than ½ the way and roll out a little more than ½ the way.

  • A 7 iron will fly a little less than ¼ the way and roll out a little more than ¾ the way.

Try This Drill To Eliminate Fat and Thin Chip Shots

A good short game is critical to shooting lower scores. How many time have you fatted a chip shot that landed far short of its intended target? Or hit a chip shot that knifes the green? This simple drill will help you to eliminate the fat and thin chip shots.

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