The Chip Shot

The Situation:
Your ball lies 10 feet off the green with high grass between you and the fringe so you can’t putt. You want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible so it can react like a putt, which gives you the best chance of making the shot. The shot selection that makes the most sense is the chip using a club with enough loft to carry the fringe yet keeps the ball low so it can run out to the hole.

Feet, knees and hips slightly open to the target with the feet relatively close together. Shoulders parallel to the target line with the weight set over your front foot. Hands opposite the inside of the forward thigh gripped down on the shaft and the ball positioned back in the stance opposite the big toe of your back foot. Stand close to the ball so the shaft is upright and the heel of the club is slightly off the ground. Place the ball opposite the toe of the club.

Keeping the weight forward gently push the club back with the lead arm. Once you have taken the club back the appropriate distance initiate the downward motion by allowing the arms to drop while leading with the handle. The back hip and knee will rotate into the shot and a firm lead arm and wrist will keep the club on line as it goes through the impact zone. The head of the club should finish low to the ground and the shaft should stay in line creating a straight line from the forward arm down the shaft.

At finish, the hips will be slightly more open and the handle away from the body but the upper part of the lead arm should still be connected to the chest area as the club shaft and lead arm form a straight line.

This shot should produce a very solid hit that drives the ball forward letting it roll out to its intended target. Length and loft are adjusted by the selection of the club chosen, the position of the ball in the stance and/or the length of the back swing. Remember, height is increased by moving the ball forward in the stance but if you increase loft you must increase the lever to compensate for hitting lower on the ball.

This is a very simple shot but probably the most important shot in golf. If you become a good chipper you can shave many shots off your score. It allows you to play smarter shots approaching the green, which should lead to less putts and less big numbers on your scorecard.

Note: The shaft is more upright than usual and the heel of the club is off the ground, so you take the arc out of the club, which allows you to take the club back and through on a straight line. This setup position eliminates direction from the equation and lets you focus solely on distance control. After all, if the face of the club is square to the target as it moves straight back and through then the ball must go where the face of the club is aimed.

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