One of golf’s most tactical shots, chipping a golf ball happens when a golfer lifts the ball into the air, followed by a long roll once landing on the ground.
Chip shots are best applied in situations when our ball has become trapped in the grass or while maneuvering our ball down through a sloped portion of the golf course.
Chipping the ball can be done with any golf club between a sand wedge and five-iron, typically taken from on or around the green.
In the interest of getting our ball rolling onto the green, most chip shots are a method for golfers to get their ball rolling towards the hole as they would when putting.
The experience level of a golfer aside, all players benefit from developing their chipping skills, making it vital to any player that we learn how to chip a golf ball correctly.
When positioning ourselves for chipping the ball onto the greens, we must first decide and aim for the spot where we intend to land our golf ball.
The ultimate objective for our chip shot should be getting our ball onto the putting surface, as the turf in this area of the golf course usually benefits from a flatter, well prepared playing surface, that creates a desirable first bounce.
Bounces created from chipping the ball onto the putting surface are often much more predictable than that of other landing positions in the thicker turf found in the surrounding green outside of this area.
If our chip shots end up in less favorable areas of the golf course such as the rough or slopped portions of turf, there will be more problems to follow.
By effectively visualizing where we intend to land our shot, chipping the ball will be much easier, as we’ve mentally established where we want to get the ball.
Once we’ve visualized where we want our ball to land, our bodies will be prepared to physically send the ball to this area of the course.
The golf club that we choose for our chip shot will be heavily influenced by the playing conditions we’re experiencing.
Determining the proximity of where we intend to land the golf ball and how far the hole will be from this point will drastically impact which golf club we ultimately choose to use during our chip shot.
Shorter distances between where we land and the hole will require a golf club with increased loft, which prevents our golf ball from rolling beyond our intended landing area.
If we have a huge distance between where our chip shot lands and the hole, in excess of 50 feet, a good golf club to use would be one with a straight clubface.
Different golf course conditions will dictate different styles of play while framing your perfect chip shot.
If you’re chipping the golf ball from an area of the golf course with longer grass, a golf club with increased loft will provide the best results, granted that we take an extended swing in this specific situation.
With respect to chipping the golf ball above the higher grass found in the rough, a longer swing will be the best option to achieve this objective.
If our golf ball happens to be laying in a depression upon the golf course, a golf club with a straightened clubface will be the go to club in order to chip the ball free.
An effective chip shot begins by taking the swing using our entire upper body.
In order to maintain control while producing a powerful chip shot, our wrists should be avoided as a main driving force.
The movement in our hips should be felt throughout our swing, as our upper body remains agile during the entire swing.
First contact with our golf ball must be produced with a downward angle of attack.
Many novice golfers believe hitting upward onto the golf ball will produce the best chip shot.
Aiming our clubface downward will provide the ideal environment for an effective chip shot to take shape, traveling upward once the ball and golf club make contact.
As the golf club makes impact with the ball, golfers must scoop their club upward, adding the desired height needed to chip out of higher grass found in the rough of the course.
Following through with our swing after chipping the golf ball will ensure that our power has been maximized through fluid motion experienced in this full bodied range of movement.
Lastly, golfers must maintain a visual on where their ball has rolled immediately following their chip shot.
Doing so will also give an insight on how much power each specific golf club requires in order to achieve our desired distances.
Producing a great chip shot works more as an art form rather than an exact science.
Several existing elements in our normal golf swing setup are positioned to extract their power from our movements, whereas in chipping we must aim to create more control in our shots.
Any adjustments made to our swing stance, the way we grip the golf club, and the distribution of weight throughout our body will either make or break our ability to produce quality chip shots.
Working on our chipping does not always have to take place on a putting green, allowing golfers to work through their techniques in several settings, including at their home or office.
In off course settings, golfers will be able to make adjustments to their set up and swing in relation to chipping.
There are several misconceptions about producing proper chip shots, which will be addressed in the breakdown of this article.
Many golfers believe that chipping the golf ball, especially in rough patches throughout the course, requires sharp, focused power - which really works against the overall goal in chip shots.
To correctly produce chip shots, golfers must apply control in their golf swing, rather than focusing on adding power.
Assuming a narrowed swing stance, golfers must ensure that their feet are set apart and balanced beneath their setup.
Keeping our feet too close will create an imbalance that leads to missed shots and can even cause bodily harm to the golfer.
When setting up for a chip shot, assuming the position we take during the impact portion of normal swings will provide the optimal stance for success.
During the impact portion of typical golf swings, our hips open up with our body weight distributed towards the front side of our bodies.
At setup, nearly 70% of our body weight should be placed on our lead leg.
When we address the ball prior to chipping, we must ensure that our hips and feet aim left of target (the opposite being true for left-handed players).
With our shoulders aimed towards the target, our intended swing path will remain on line, without worrying about the positioning of our lower body taking our golf swing off track.
Placing our hands ahead of the golf ball’s position will allow the club shaft to be aimed towards our left hip (right hip on left handed golfers).
Remember, if we raise our rear heel slightly during impact, we will be able to regulate how much weight rests on the back foot, keeping our swing as intended.
Drawing from the previous section, assume the proper address for a chip shot with a lofted golf club in hand.
Practice a few light backswings, allowing the clubhead to rise about ankle high, following through to the same point.
Begin by chipping about 10 golf balls, with the distance of each chip progressing with every shot.
Once comfortable, begin the process by now bringing the clubhead back knee high, following through to the same height.
The final process, once complete, will find the clubhead being brought back and followed through at the height of our hips.
This exercise provides a golfer with 3 distinct chip shot distances, which will serve as a utility from varying landing spots around the green.
Golfers are encouraged to go through this golf drill with a few additional clubs, which will allow the player to develop several new distances.
Golf instructors encourage players to log each distance a club produces at the varying heights, allowing the golfer to commit these stats to memory that can be drawn upon each time they require a chip shot in play.
Golfers that find their ball buried deeply in the rough are sometimes confused as to how their chip shot should take shape in such conditions.
Focusing on making solid contact with the golf ball will allow our club to produce the needed amount of spin that helps control the distance of the chip shot.
With our weight distributed forward, hips and feet opened, we must draw the ball to the back of our stance when buried deep in the rough.
The amount of wrist hinge needed when buried in the rough differs from a typical chip shot , creating a chop like action when performed correctly.
When taken correctly, our thumbs should aim towards the sky immediately into our takeaway, with the clubface wide open, coming close to mirroring the setup of a flop shot.
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