A chip shot can be defined as a shot around the green that requires the ball to fly about 1/3 in the air and 2/3 roll on its way to the hole. Or in other words, a chip shot is a shot that is hit with minimum air and maximum roll. You’ll need to use a chip shot when the golf ball is off of the green and you’re unable to putt. This will carry the ball over the fringe without a lot of height and then the golf ball will roll the rest of the way to the hole. In contrast to a chip shot, the definition of a pitch shot is a shot that has 2/3 air and 1/3 roll on its journey to the hole. If you can’t get the ball safely on the green with 1/3 air then it is no longer a chip shot, it would be a pitch shot.
Chipping is a very important part of the golf game for a couple of reasons. Anytime you can put the ball on the ground instead of in the air you will have more control over your golf ball. You’ll have more accuracy in your shot and you’ll find that the distance control is easier to learn.
So when do you use your chip shot?
Well, I have a mantra I have used for the past 25 years: PUTT before you CHIP and CHIP before you PITCH, PITCH before you SAND and SAND before you LOB. If you have a chance to putt the ball go ahead and do it. If there is some grass or uneven terrain that you think a putt won’t go through smoothly, then chip the golf ball. If you can’t reach the green SAFELY with 1/3 air then you’ll need to pitch the ball with a pitching wedge first, a sand wedge secondly and lastly with a LOB wedge.
Ok, so there is a little bit of grey area, some golf courses are either very firm or there are parts of the world where there is not a lot of grass around the green and yes it would be best to use the Texas Wedge (putter). The ground can be so firm that you couldn’t hit a pitch shot if you tried, that’s when you put the method aside and putt the ball. Otherwise, keep the golf ball as low to the ground as possible. I can’t stress enough that the game of golf is easier and safer on the ground versus in the air. The distance to the hole is not in any way a deciding factor when deciding whether to chip or pitch.
You can control the direction of the chip shot similarly to that of a putt – it’s fairly easy. Then you’ll start noticing how you’ve got a great chance of making the chip – since it’s going to roll towards the hole. Because you have to fly the ball further in the air this makes a pitch or flop shot much more difficult. With a pitch or flop shot it’s more difficult to judge the distance and the amount the ball will roll after landing on the green.
In chipping the most common mistake is not hitting the back of the golf ball. You might top the ball, hit it fat, hit behind the ball, or hit it too thin. If you don’t hit solid chip shots you won’t have any consistency with your distance control. Distance control in chipping is difficult enough when you are hitting solid chip shots. So you must learn how to hit the back of the golf ball consistently.
Now that you know the definition of a chip shot, we can start talking about how to chip. That will be covered in the next lesson. So keep an eye out for that.
About The Author: This article was written by golf professional Bobby Eldridge. Bobby has been teaching golf for over 35 years and over that time he has given over 40,000 golf lessons. Bobby has produced a great Short Game DVD that shows you in simple terms how you can up and down it from anywhere inside 100 yards. So to improve your short game so you can become a short game magician and up and down it from anywhere simply click here to find out more about the Short Game DVD.