Do you want to BREAK 80, 90 or 100? Do you want to SLASH scores instantly? Imagine getting up and down around the green in two shots. Imagine standing over a ball green side, without crapping yourself and instead, knowing exactly what to do.
It doesn’t rely on power or strength or flexibility. Anyone with a brain with half an ounce of brains in it can do it at the same level as the pros. You don’t need Brooks Koepka biceps to chip well and you don’t need to be 6 ft 5 to dunk a chip.
YOU, yes sir, YOU can be a world class chipper, equally as good as the pros (NO JOKE), with the right fundamentals, techniques and a couple hours of practice.
So why do golfers ignore chipping?
Usually it’s ego – most guys just want to hit the big booming drive but don’t realize you need to get stronger physically before you can swing it faster to hit it longer. Lots of guys think it’s boring to be a short game wizard, but I ask one question: is shooting 79, 89 or 99 for the first time...BORING? I didn't think so!
And that’s how you break those scoring barriers: by shaving quick and easy strokes around the greens.
GOLF SIDEKICK’S MASSIVE CLAIM
I’m going to make a massive claim and tell you that after reading this guide and doing the things in it, you will shave 5-10 shots off your score within 3 rounds.
I understand what you think though. I sucked at the short game for a long time. I thought it was a mystery and fell into the trap of watching better players and thinking they can chip because they were born like that.
What a load of horse twaddle! Read and watch the stuff below and give it a try. You’ll be a lower-scoring man in no time. I promise.
But Golf Sidekick, is the short game really THAT important?
If you really can’t get the ball off the tee box and you’re leaving tons of balls short of the ladies’ tees, then you probably need to get that sorted out by visiting a good teaching pro. A great short game isn't going to help you if you're chipping to save a 10.
But if you can get the ball airborne in the general direction of the fairway and hit it near the green in two or three or four shots, then the short game is where you'll slash strokes immediately.
You must be able to get the ball near the greens in less than 5 shots
As mentioned above, if you can't get the ball near the green in two or three or four shots, then you probably aren't looking to break 110, 100, 90 or 80 yet which means you really need to see a professional instructor to get the ball flying toward the hole more consistently.
A good short game will be more valuable when you're chipping and putting to save double bogeys and bogeys. Get the long game sorted, then revisit this article.
Keep a record of your short game as proof
Next time you play a round; I want you to mark down how many shots you take on each hole inside 50 yards. If you’re green side and getting up and down in two shots 50% of the time, you just need to practice and don’t need to read this article. But if you’re taking three or four shots around the green often, this is for you.
General Premise of This How to Chip Guide
The basic idea I use for showing you to chip is to simplify the technique and remove all doubt regarding the ball's interaction with the ground, so you can make consistent chips with consistent results.
To remove the doubt and fear of how the ball will react with the ground, the GENERAL PREMISE is to GET THE BALL ROLLING on the green as soon as possible. You want to get it onto the green about a yard or two from the fringe and let it finish it's journey along the ground all the way to the cup.
This is achieved by the technique outlined below and is the surest way to avoid those inconsistent results you may be used to.
Lobbing the ball too far onto the green with a high-loft club is a guaranteed way to get the chipping yips. Doubt, fear and insecurity all creep into your swing because you don’t know if you’re going to leave it short, if it’s going to spin, if you’ll teeth it across the green or duff it 1 foot in front of you.
My technique combined with getting the ball rolling ASAP will stop these doubts and fears and make you fall deeply in love with chipping. I swear it.
Pick one club to chip with at all times
Before we get into the technique, you must select one club to start chipping with.
I suggest the Pitching Wedge but you can use a 9 iron, 8 iron, or any wedge just please do not use a 58° or 60° to start with. We will introduce them much later when you’ve mastered the technique and have more confidence. They 58° and 60° are very difficult clubs to chip with when learning to master the art of chipping.
There is one infallible technique to use for chipping. Follow this to the letter and you will go from the skuller, the fluffer and the flipper to the chipping extraordinaire.
Step 1: OPEN YOUR STANCE, FEET CLOSE TOGETHER
With full golf shots, we have to rotate our lower bodies from square to the ball to square to the target. With chipping, I want to eliminate that aspect of the swing to make it super simple.
By presetting your lower body open to the target – essentially aiming your feet left of the target line – we make it simple for our body to rotate through the shot.
By putting your feet close together, you make sure you have no possibility of falling onto the back foot to scoop the ball in the air (explained more below).
Step 2: BALL POSITION - FRONT OR BACK FOOT ONLY
I want you to commit to two balls flights only – high or low. I would suggest STARTING WITH THE BACK FOOT as we want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible with my technique. Keeping it lower when landing on the green will give an easier more consistent result.
If you find you’re hitting the ball well before the earth (thinning it), you can move it to the front foot.
If you play it off the middle of the stance, you’re not committing to a ball flight which is a recipe for disaster as COMMITMENT is the only key to good execution of any golf shot.
Step 3: HANDS AHEAD OF THE BALL AT ALL TIMES
By setting your hands ahead of the ball, you prevent the temptation of “flipping” the ball in the air by flicking your wrists. Combined with playing the ball off the back foot and putting your weight almost entirely on the front foot, having your hands in front of the ball stops the scoop:
This is the death blow for chipping. Any time you scoop with your wrists at the bottom of the swing, you bring shanks, duffs and skulls into play. The consistency is just not there with the scoop. With the hands preset in front of the ball, and a forward shaft lean, you will be preset in a FANTASTIC position to make crisp, clean, consistent chips every time.
Now you may think this awful technique of flicking your wrists at the bottom works because you do it but it's NEVER going to give you consistent results. There are too many variables that can go wrong in a wristy movement.
Step 4: GRIP DOWN ON THE CLUB (optional)
When I chip, I want to have maximum control of the face and better feel. Being closer to the ball helps me with this.
To get closer to the ball and feel more in control, I grip down on the club. I like to grip it so far down, my bottom hand sometimes even touches the steel of the shaft if I really need a deft touch. But usually, my bottom hand's index finger is resting on the very bottom of the grip.
You don't have to do this step, and your grip is up to you - do what works, and experiment on the practice green. Just make sure it's a nice light grip without tension in the hands! Tension in the hands, forearms and shoulders really kills your feel.
Step 5: WEIGHT ON THE FRONT FOOT
You must place almost your entire your body-weight on the front foot. In fact, you should be able to chip standing just on your front foot!
Why do we do this?
This will stop you from falling onto the back foot which makes you try scoop the ball in the air. This is one of the most common things I see in a golfer whose chipping is suspect. A wide stance and the desire to help “lift” the ball into the air while keeping a lot of weight on the back foot.
You might think you need to help the ball into the air by leaning back, or placing your weight on the back foot so you can "get under" the ball but in reality, these clubs have been designed to make a descending blow on the ball and at the same time, get the ball in the air. Trust the club to do it's work...you just swing.
Execution of the chip
Now that your body is set up to make a perfect chip, the actual execution is pretty simple once you know how and below is the HOW to chip like a BOSS!
STEP 1: READ THE GREEN
Is it uphill, downhill, right to left, left to right?
This is exactly the same process as you would do when putting. But I want you to really and truly envision that ball jumping off your club face and taking the line you see on the green, all the way to the hole. See it, feel it, imagine deeply.
STEP 2: FIND THE SPOT
Now... on that LINE you see in your mind when reading the green, you must find a SPOT on the green you think the ball should land on to react the way you think it will react and roll up to the hole.
This SPOT is where you want to land the ball and becomes your sole focus. The SPOT should usually be quite close to the front of the green - anywhere from 1 foot to a couple of yards on depending on how much green you have to work with.
So you have a great technique, a great setup and you've read the green and you're happy that if you hit it on the SPOT you chose, that the ball will go near the hole. This is important because once you've determined your spot, you don't need to worry about what happens after it lands on the spot, all you have to do is focus on landing it on the spot and the chip will be totally perfect for what you've set up.
Focusing on the SPOT is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the execution of a chip. It gives you confidence and only one thing to focus on which eliminates doubts and fears. With that, you get commitment to the shot and commitment is the key to any shot in golf.
Use your practice swings to gauge your power level to get the ball to land on the SPOT and roll out to the hole.
But How Do I Know Where the SPOT Is?
Well my good man, you need to practice. But just a little bit. You need to get to a green and hit some chips and watch how they react to the surface of the green. With experience, this process becomes so easy that you’ll wonder how the hell you were never a chipping maestro. (Practice section is at the end of this article ).
Once you understand how the ball reacts to the slopes, greens and your particular shot profile which is unique to you, then you actually don’t need a green to practice on. You can practice anywhere just hitting a spot. It’s that simple. Once you know how to hit a ball onto a SPOT with the TECHNIQUE described above, chipping is merely a copy paste exercise wherever you are playing.
STEP 3: SWINGING THE CLUB
To make a good chip, simply take the club back and swing through, with a slight downward stroke on the ball.
When you take the club back, please don't cock your wrists. Keep the left wrist in a similar position as it is at address and keep your hands leading the club through the impact area. The left wrist can ROTATE a little bit on the way back and through but not "break" or "cock".
Your clubhead must never overtake your hands - this only happens for flop and bunker shots which are different techniques entirely.
As you get better at chipping with your one single club, you’ll we well grooved in the ability to hit the SPOT. But there comes a time when you may need to use a club with less loft for a longer chip or more loft for a shorter chip.
That’s the best part of this system. You use the EXACT SAME swing and power level, just change the club. You still pick a SPOT and then you swing the new club with the same motion you used with your usual chipping club.
Let’s say you use a PW most of the time, but now you have a really long chi – something like 25 yards with loads of green to work with. Now you know your pitching wedge is great for this type of chip but only from maybe 15 yards. Those extra ten yards requires you to chip it on too far and you don’t know how it will react with a pitching wedge.
So now you find that spot close to the front of the green. Then you pick a lower lofted club like a 9 iron or 8 iron. Swing it the exact same way you would with the pitching wedge and watch it land on your spot and run up to the hole. That’s how easy this is.
Technique + SPOT + correct club = Short Game Nirvana
The opposite is also true. If you have a downhill chip or a short chip, find your spot within a yard of the front of the green and select a higher lofted club. If you use your PW to chip most of the time, use a 52° or 56° club and watch how it doesn’t run out as far as the PW!
Why you Shouldn’t Use your 60° or 58° Lob Wedge to Chip
There are exceptions to this but in general, mid handicappers and high handicappers should avoid these clubs because they’re much harder to get right compared to a PW, 52°, 54° or even a 56°. It’s not only the loft but also the bounce of the club and size of the sole that affects the shot.
A lob wedge often has less bounce and a thinner sole which means it will dig into the ground. We want something with a larger sole to glide through the turf and make chipping easier to stop chunked and duffed chips.
These clubs also sometimes spin a lot, and sometimes don’t. If you aren’t a qualified artist with them, they can really destroy your confidence. The technique outlined above with a lower lofted club produces balls that spin the same way and roll out the same way every time.
But I need to hit flop shots all the time
I’m a single figure handicap (between 3 and 5) and I have to hit flop shots maybe once every six rounds. The rest of the time, I am hitting chips like I describe in this article. If you find yourself needing to hit flop shots, your course management may need work and in that case, I suggest watching my Youtube videos on the topic, and reading my article on HOW TO MISS A GREEN LIKE A BOSS.
The only time you need to hit a flop shot is when you’re short-sided. Instead of covering this fundamental flaw with a band-aid called the flop shot, get to the root of your problem and discover the beautiful world of golf course management strategies.
Why do the pros look like all they do is hit flop shots?
The PGA Tour is all about ratings and there's nothing sexy about a bog-standard bump and run up the green to two feet. They want people to watch the extravagant shots, and the impossible par save by Phil Mickelson. These flop shots are more visible because they're amazing but they're a rarity. If the pro is playing properly, he should rarely be short-siding himself. Most of the pros are missing the green in the right place when they miss and hitting the most simple chip shots to get the ball in or near the hole - nothing fancy at all.