When it comes to becoming better at golf, the deal is fairly straightforward – get the ball into the hole and do it in as few moves as possible.
Now, this may sound easy but the skills that you have to possess and hone to be able to do this consistently are parameters of this game you should not take lightly. The thing is, the more time you invest in practicing your pitching, putting, chipping, and the swing – the better performance you will be able to give once you find yourself on the golf course.
In this article, we’re going to talk about chipping and how you can improve this aspect of your golf game. As you probably already know, chipping represents an important part of your golf arsenal, so to speak, because this shot will help you make those middle-range shots that cannot be pulled of by using either putting or pitching techniques.
Indeed, it’s only through learning how to chip your shots perfectly that you’ll be able to control the distance your ball travels with the middle range shots. (And these shots often make the biggest part of the game.)
Right then folks, without further ado, here’s the deal.
Golf chipping tips for beginners
1) Get the Right Club for the Job
First things first, no amount of practice can compensate for the fact that you aren’t using the proper club for chipping.
As you know already, golf clubs come in different shapes and sizes, so if you want to pull of a perfect chip shot, you will want to pay attention to what sort of club you’re using. For chipping purposes, you’ll probably be best of using the 8-iron club, because its head will provide just the right angle for the ball to fly off in an optimal curve.
Alternatively, of course, you may want to use another sort of club in case your ball ends up in grass or some other surface where it’s tough to reach it well with a regular club. In these situations, you may want to get the sand wedge – the type of club typically used for hitting the ball out of sand. These clubs are tough and have a wide enough sole to allow you to flick the ball right out of a variety of different unfavorable ground situations, so to speak.
2) Assume the Right Stance
The stance you assume when preparing for a chipping shot differs from that you take when you’re preparing to drive ball of the tee.
For example, if you’re attempting to get the ball out of sand or some other rough environment, you may want to keep your legs wide apart to get more stability for the powerful swing you need to make.
With chipping, on the other hand, the situation is quite different. Since a chip shot takes less power than either a drive or a bunker shot, what you want to do is keep your legs close together, have the ball be in front of them, and make sure not to swing to hard, as the goal is not to drive the ball across the course, but to move it slightly in your target direction.
3) Mind the Grip
The way you hold the club while you’re swinging it plays an important role in how much success you’re going to have sending the ball flying off into the distance.
For example, if you want more stability for your grip (which you are going to need for a chip shot), you may want to consider using a more complex grip such as the interlocking one, where you interlock your left pinky and your right index finger. (Or vice versa if you’re a leftie.)
This way, once you do swing the club, you can rest assured that the club will move securely in the direction you wanted it to move in.
4) Pay Attention to Weight Distribution
As you already probably know, correct weight distribution in golf represents pretty much the half of the job when it comes to body alignment when taking a shot.
This is true for all golf shots and chipping is no exception. The thing is, if you want to make a good chipping shot, you have to lean slightly on your left foot. Doing this will create the slight angle you need to make the chipping successful.
(For the record, if you don’t do this, you risk of driving the ball into the ground or hitting it at a funny angle.)
5) Don’t Swing Too High Back
Chipping is a soft shot, so you shouldn’t use your full force to pull it off.
To make a good chipping shot, it is important not to swing too high back, as this will give you way too much room to work with, which usually means you’ll either hit the ball too hard, or miss it.
So, to pull of a chip shot perfectly, make sure not to swing too high and once you’ve hit the ball – make the follow-through short, too. Again, with chip shots, you aren’t using your full force, so your stance, backswing, downswing, as well as the follow-through should reflect that, too.
6) Compensate if the Ball is in the Tall Grass
Every once in a while, you’re going to hit the ball too hard or too weak and it’s going to end up in the tall grass or some other unfavorable surface where it’s difficult to get it out of.
The problem with grass is that it makes the chipping shot more complicated, as there is not enough room around the ball to pull off the chip shot successfully without the ball getting driven further into the soil.
A common solution to this problem would be to pick another golf club that will give you more of a swinging power to make this happen. For example, if you’re using an 8-iron, you may want to get a 9-iron ready, instead. Or, if the grass situation is dire, you may even need to resort to using the pitching iron.
7) Keep Your Head Up
… but not so much up that you don’t see the ball you’re hitting.
The thing is, keeping your head firmly down and not lifting it even during the follow-through can mean the difference between making the shot and missing it by a long shot.
So, what you want to do is keep your head slightly down while you’re making the shot, but also following through with the shot and lifting it after you’ve made the shot.
8) Control the Backswing
A chip shot should not be your most powerful shot, as we’ve already mentioned.
Now, since most of the power you generate for the shot comes from your back (and some of it from the wrist), being able to control the backswing is essential for ensuring you’ll be able to hit chip shots with just the right amount of power, so they are neither too strong nor too weak.
To control the backswing, make sure not to lift the club too high above your head and also – you don’t need to rotate all the way, because that way, you will generate too much power.
9) Choose Your Chipping Style
Just as is the case with other types of shot in golf, there are also different chip shot style out there you can choose from.
As far as chipping in particular is concerned, there are two common ways in which you can do it. It’s either by using:
- Steve Stricker swing – short swing, using your body, similar to standard bunker shots
- Phil Mickelson swing – short swing, more aggressive
Both of these will work fine in terms in performing excellent chip shots. The only question is which one you prefer and which one works better with your style of playing.
10) Practice Makes Perfect
All said, it’s important to reiterate that it’s the amount of practice and work hours you put into your chipping game that will ultimately decide on how good you end up with these shots.
More than anything, chipping is about controlling your power while hitting the ball at the right angle, so no matter what style you choose and how correct your posture is, there’s no getting around the fact that you simply need some practice before you can land these perfectly more often than not.
Here’s another thing to have in mind – you want to practice chipping shots on as many different surfaces as possible, as this will give you the experience you’ll need to be able to tackle difficult shots which are bound to present themselves to you in a game sooner or later.
Overall, chipping represents an integral part of the game of golf as many shots during the game will be the chipping shots. So, you should to practice these as much as possible, because they’ll inevitably make a world of difference when it comes to how well you’ll be to execute these during a game. We hope this article helped you learn more about chip shots and how to optimize yours. Best of luck with your golf ventures and we wish you plenty of success with your chip shots.