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How To Chip: Everything You Need To Know To Chip Like A Pro

First Published: June 14, 2021
Last updated: August 24, 2021
How To Chip

Are you looking to improve your chipping game and interested in learning how to chip like a pro? If so, look no further - We've got you covered! 

Throughout this article, we're sharing the best tips and tricks that will teach you how to chip like a pro.

Our team of golf enthusiasts has spent countless hours researching and refining the best chipping tips that will actually teach you how to chip more effectively on the course.

Chipping can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game. Many golfers will even reach for their putters when in reality they should be chipping.  Hence, the Texas Wedge.

Put down that putter on the fringe and let's get to chipping!

The Basics—Different types of chips​

A chip is a shot hit within 50 yards of a green, which most often does not require a full swing. Learning how to chip is one of the most important things every golfer does. It is not something you can pick up right away, and while it may appear easy, it involves nuance and creativity. You do not learn how to chip in a year or two, but continue to practice and evolve your skills for as long as you play. Before you can chip like Phil Mickelson, you have to learn the basics. We break down a few of the most common types below.

Bump and run​

The bump and run is the easiest method to master when learning how to chip. Most commonly practiced with an 8- or 9-iron, it requires a small putting-like stroke and stays close to the ground. To do this, keep a narrow stance, weight even and position the ball slightly back in your stance. Take a small swing and the ball will travel low to the ground with minimal spin.

With the bump and run, there is a small margin of error and your mistakes will be less severe than with other styles. While distance might be hard to control, your direction will be accurate, even when learning how to chip.

Pitch vs Chip​

A pitch and chip are largely the same type of shot. While some may distinguish a difference between the two, others do not. For this type of shot, most golfers will use a pitching wedge or attack wedge.

For each shot, play the ball in the middle of your stance for added control, but with your weight forward to help elevate the ball. This shot produces more spin than with the bump and run. While a pitch or chip will not stop immediately, they will “check” up quickly.

Now for the difference. A pitch shot is generally from further away and is hit higher. A chip is hit from closer to the green and requires a smaller swing. Both use the same type of club, but differ the most in how large the swing is due to the distance each needs to cover.

Flop shot​

The shot everyone wants to hit, but only a few can. A flop shot involves opening the clubface of a sand or lob wedge, taking a sweeping swing and popping the ball up. To do this, the ball will need to be forward in your swing, as does your weight. This is the hardest chip shot to master and should not be attempted before working on other styles.

When executed correctly, the ball will land soft and roll a short distance. This sounds nice and looks nice when it happens, but is very easy to go wrong with both direction and distance. With an open clubface, it is easy to blade chips and end up further away from your target than you started. Rather than being able to use the entire clubhead, you rely on a small portion and have much more room for error.

When to use each type of chip​

You can chip from a variety of areas, under countless conditions during a single round of golf. Most new golfers struggle with determining what approach to take as they learn how to chip. While we can’t cover every situation, we’ll look at a few you can build off of on your own.

When you are on the fringe or in a fairway leading to the green, you should use the bump and run. This is the easiest scenario to decide. Don’t overthink it, pull out your 8-iron and bump it onto the green.

As you get further from the green (or any area on the same elevation level as the green), you should continue to bump and run. When you get a bit further or the terrain is uneven, pitch the ball to avoid any bumps on the path of your ball.

Following this theme, when you need to get the ball in the air from the fairway or rough you should chip or pitch. If you are close to the green, a chip shot is better. As distance increases between you and the green, transition to a pitch shot.

Chipping on sand bunker

When your ball is in the sand, it is a different ballgame. For the most part, you will be chipping out of the sand. In these situations, your only goal is that your next stroke is a putt. Don’t get fancy, don’t overthink it. Get the ball out of the trap.

The best type of chip based on skill level​

As you improve your skills around the green, the best club to chip with will change. While every level player benefits from the bump and run chip, more skilled players can trust other types of short shots. Situational awareness is also something that develops over time, but we’re sticking to the basics.

For a beginner​

Inexperienced or less skilled golfers should bump and run whenever possible. Only when it is absolutely necessary should players of this skill level chip or pitch the ball.

For an intermediate player​

As your scores drop from the 100s to 90s, you can allow yourself a bit of variance in chipping. You are still learning how to chip at this stage, but you can add more chips and pitches into your regular shots. While a beginner is aiming for the green, an intermediate golfer can take aim at pins.

For the low handicappers​

Low handicappers are the best golfers and the only time they are learning how to chip is when they add new and creative shots to their already impressive arsenal. These golfers will still bump and run, but chip and pitch more often than not. These are also the only golfers who should (and can) pull off the flop shot. 

How to chip; the rule of 12​

The amount of roll on a chip will not change much if you do not change style. If you wish to control distance better, you need to change how far it remains in the air. The easiest method for accomplishing this? Swinging a bit harder or softer. A better method to maintain tempo? Swing smaller or larger, or a combination of the two.

The rule of 12 is useful for those learning how to chip because it provides insight into the flight-roll ratio of different methods. Around the greens, your goal is to get your ball moving towards the hole and have it stop at the correct distance. There is a formula that an 8-iron will roll four times as far as it flies and a sand wedge will roll as far as it flew. By taking the formula into account discussed in this video and this article, you will be able to better select your club based on distance from the hole, how much room you have to work with, and how long you need it to roll.

Final Thoughts​

Knowing when and how to chip becomes easier over time! Remember, don't be afraid to chip. As long as you continue practicing and keeping the fundamentals in mind, you'll be chipping like the pros before you know it.

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