Top 5 Golf Chipping Tips for Beginners
Club selection once you’re off the tee in golf is all about distances, and nine times out of 10 moving one iron up or down is all that’s required to put you in a position to make the shot you need to make. The exception to that is those few instances where it’s not only about the club but also about how much energy you swing through the ball with using it. That’s the long and short of the chip, and it’s one of the more challenging golf swings to do well consistently.
Like anything, it’s especially difficult for a golf beginner, and there’s no debating that it is infuriating to swing through the ball with too much crank on the club and have your ball rocketing off the other side of the green. Important to understand that’ll still be infuriating once you’re an experienced golfer, but let’s instead focus on getting you off on the right foot with good chip shot technique for golf so that you don’t end up furious very often at all.
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Better Golf Chip Shots – Here’s How
1. Make Best Use of Your Hands, Feet, and Weight
Solid chips start with your stance and how you place your hands on the golf club. Here’s what you should start with:
- Hold your club as you would for a standard swing. Then, relocate your hands down the club length and closer to the ball. For most people 3 or 4” down is usually just about right. By ‘choking up’ this way you have more finite control over the ball
- Next, shuffle you stance closer to the ball so that it is much closer to the tips of your shoes than it would be if you were swinging normally.
- Also make sure your feet are closer together. By doing this your body will rotate back and through more naturally as you chip. Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to best do this.
- Place more (but not too much, 60% is good) of your body weight going through your front foot than your rear foot. This will make it easier to strike your chip shots
2. The Slight Back Turn Swing
Once your hands and feet are ideally set then it’s time to chip the ball. The most important thing to understand here is that you don’t swing with you arms at all with the majority of chip shots, unless you’re looking to chip with significantly more distance. If you’re looking to put the ball up on the green from a shorter distance away (as will be the case 9 of 10 times) then your arms are only stabilizers for the club.
Instead, you swing by turning your body to move the club (also seen in the video above) and your wrists stay fixed during the whole swing.
3. Take a Practice Swing First
This tip likely is one that’s to be expected, but it’s worthwhile to remind beginners that taking one to go through the mechanics of your shot is recommended. It’s helpful to watch the club move through the swing and see if it’s moving in a manner that you’re aiming to achieve and one that should propel the ball forward as you’d like.
If you’re not replicating the swing that you though you’d be, you need to revisit your mechanics again. As is the case with anything, practice enough and make a few solid chips and you won’t need this step anymore. But as a beginner you can expect to be taking these practice swings for a while.
4. Brush the Grass Beneath the Ball
This tip is one that can really make a difference for a beginner who wants to have their ball ‘pop’ up nicely as they chip. Going through the ball without getting much of the grass beneath it will cause the ball to shoot forward with very little lift – obviously that’s going to result in poor chip shot. Similarly, if you go too deep with the club face and get under the ball too much then you’ll get a great pop up but you won’t get anywhere near the distance you want.
Instead, you want to aim to ‘brush’ the top of the grass with the base of your club face. Just enough so that the grass planes forward quickly and briefly so that you’re getting just under the ball while still remembering that you’re swinging with your body and not your arms. Practice makes perfect with this, and it’s something you can practice easily at home or in the park as you won’t be hitting the ball far at all.
5. Find Your Best Chip Club
Yes, the majority of golfers chip with their pitching sand wedge. You may find that works best for you too, but you may also find that you chip more effectively with an entirely different iron. At the very least you should also try your 9 and 8 irons, as many golfers have found that they suit their particular swing more appropriately for chip shots. Of course, for most golfer’s swings the wedge will have higher trajectories and less distance to them when chipping, while lower lofted clubs will launch lower and roll out further. If you find that you’re an exception to that then don’t feel you’re obligated to make it work with your wedges because that’s ‘the way’ to do it.