There are two basic philosophies for chipping:
- Chip all shots with your favorite club. Here the idea is that it is easier to master one club than to master many different clubs.
- Land everything on the front of the green and let the ball roll to the hole. The idea is to get the ball rolling as soon as possible so that you only have to make a small stroke and you let the green do the rest of the work.
Which One Is Right?
In essence, they both are. The real key is to analyze the layout of the green and pick whatever club will give you the best odds for getting up and down. If your favorite club won’t make the shot any more difficult, use it!
What Is the Most Important Factor?
It’s best to always play to the layout of the course. You want to land the ball in the path of least resistance.
Find a spot on the green that is nice and level for the ball to roll true to the hole.
In most cases, when faced with a simple, straightforward chip, it is best to land the ball close to the front of the green and let the ball roll to the hole. This means you will use a variety of clubs depending on the layout of the green.
So What Club Do I Use?
When facing a straight chip with very little undulation on the green, you will use a variety of clubs. The idea is to land the ball 5 to 6 feet on the green and to get the ball to roll to the hole.
If you’re very close to the fringe, you may only need a 7 or 8 iron to get the intended result. As you start to go farther and farther away from the edge of the green, you will need more loft to land the ball on the front of the green and let it roll to the hole.
This same chip shot that called for a seven iron when just off the edge of the green, may need a sand wedge from 20 feet farther away.
When to Change up the Game Plan
As mentioned earlier, on a nice, flat green it’s best to land the ball on the front of the green and let the ball roll to the whole. We
will need to change this plan if there are mounds or hills on the front of the green. It’s always best to land the ball on a nice, flat spot on the green if possible. Landing the ball on any type of slope will be too unpredictable.
Uphill and downhill slopes will cause the ball to check up or roll out much more aggressively, respectively. Side hill lies can kick the ball severely to the left or right depending on the amount of slope. These types of variables can be very difficult to predict.
When faced with a chip shot such as the ones mentioned above, try to find a flat spot to land the ball either in front of or past these slopes or hills.
Always Take the Path of Least Resistance!
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