Mastering How to Chip a Golf Ball for a Shorter Game

by | Last updated Apr 12, 2024

how to chip a golf ball

Ever hit the ball thin on a chip shot, sending it rocketing across the green?

Frustrating, isn’t it? It’s a common problem, but one with some simple solutions.

Chipping should be easy – it’s a short distance shot where a little finesse should get you close to the hole. But mishits lead to wasted strokes and missed opportunities to save par.

Mastering the proper chip shot technique will help you avoid embarrassing things and get the ball rolling smoothly toward the pin.

Let’s break down the key elements for consistently solid chip shots.

  • Keep it simple. Think of a chip shot like a miniature version of your normal shot.
  • Weight forward. Place more weight on your front foot for a solid strike.
  • Ball back, hands forward. Position the ball slightly back in your stance and have your hands ahead of the ball at address.
  • Smooth and steady. Avoid scooping with your wrists. Focus on a smooth, descending swing.
  • Practice makes perfect. Spend time on the practice green experimenting with different clubs and targets to master this essential short-game skill.

Understanding the Basics of Chipping

Chipping is a golf shot designed to lift the ball briefly into the air before it lands on the green and moves toward the hole. It’s a finesse shot that requires precision and control rather than power. The goal is to make the ball fly over obstacles like rough or bunker edges and land softly to roll toward the target. Let’s break down the key components:

shooting golf ball

Selecting the Right Golf Club

  • Club Choice: The choice of the golf club is crucial for chipping. While most golfers opt for a pitch shot or a sand wedge, the club you select should match the distance to the hole and the roll you need. A pitching wedge is ideal for longer chips where you need the ball to roll more, whereas a sand wedge or a higher lofted club is better for shorter fragments with less roll.

Perfecting the Stance and Ball Position

  • Stance: Adopt a slightly open stance with your feet closer together than in a regular shot. This position helps control the swing and ensure a slightly descending blow on the ball.
  • Ball Position: The ball should be positioned more towards the back foot. This setup encourages the desired ball contact, hitting the ball thin enough to lift but solid sufficient to control.

Executing the Chip Shot

  • Upper Body Movement: Keep your upper body movement minimal. The power in a chip shot comes from the arms and shoulders, not from the whole body.
  • Arm Position: Maintain your left arm straight (for right-handed golfers) throughout the shot. This helps in creating a consistent, controlled swing.
  • Wrist Action: The left wrist should remain firm to prevent flipping the club at impact, which can lead to inconsistent shots.

Advanced Techniques for Improved Chipping

golf ball near putt

Once you’ve grasped the basics, refining your technique can elevate your chipping game:

Distance Control

  • Practice with Purpose: Distance control is paramount in chipping. Spend time practicing with different clubs to understand how each affects the distance and roll of the ball.
  • Visualize and Execute: Before each chip, visualize the shot, focusing on where you want the ball to land to roll out to the hole.

Mastering the Mental Game

  • Confidence is Key: Confidence plays an important role in successful chipping. Practice daily to build muscle memory and confidence in executing different chip shots under various conditions.
Mastering golf

Fine-Tuning Your Approach

  • Adjusting for Lie: Learn to change your stance and club selection based on the ball’s lie. A sound chip shot from a difficult lie can save par or better.
  • Reading the Green: Understanding the contour of the green is crucial for effective chipping. Consider the slope and speed of the green when choosing where to land the ball.

Practice Drills for Effective Chipping

To develop a reliable and effective chipping game, incorporate these practice drills into your routine:

golf ball

The Hinge-and-Hold Drill

  • This drill focuses on maintaining the correct wrist position through the chip shot. Practice chipping to keep your left wrist firm and prevent it from flipping at impact.

The Alignment Rod Drill

  • Use an alignment rod to ensure your body is aligned with your target line. This drill helps in developing consistency in your aiming and execution.

The Putting Stroke Drill

  • Practice using a putting stroke with your wedges to improve your touch and feel around the greens. This drill encourages control and precision, essential elements of successful chipping.


ending golf shot

Chipping is an art that requires finesse, precision, and practice. Golfers can significantly improve their short game by focusing on the fundamentals, embracing advanced techniques, and dedicating time to practice.

Remember, successful chipping is not just about the physical execution but also understanding the strategy behind each shot.

With patience and perseverance, developing chipping expertise can improve scores and enhance the overall enjoyment of golf rounds.

Whether aiming to save par or set up an easy birdie, the ability to chip effectively is a valuable asset in any golfer’s arsenal. So, grab your clubs, hit the practice green, and start refining your chipping skills today.

With each chip, you’re moving the ball closer to the hole and elevating your game to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I keep hitting my chip shots thin?

Often, this comes from trying to help the ball into the air, resulting in scooping with the right wrist at impact. Focus on a smooth, descending strike, more like a normal shot, to ensure the clubhead hits the ball before the ground.

What’s the best way to set up for a chip shot?

A good setup is key. Put more weight on your front foot, position the ball slightly back in your stance, stand closer to it, and lean the shaft forward slightly toward your left side.

Should I be looking at the ball or the hole when chipping?

While it’s ok to glance at your target, keep your primary focus on the ball. Before you take the shot, visualize the flight path you want – that will help guide your stroke.

How can I get better at chipping around the course?

Grab a few extra balls when you head to the practice green. Experiment with different lies and stances to see how they affect your contact. Don’t just chip to the hole; search for other targets to increase your options on the course.

I struggle with distance control on my chip shots, what should I do?

The longer your swing, the greater the margin for error. Instead of trying to swing harder for more distance, use different clubs to vary the roll-out. Track how far each wedge carries, and you’ll find distance control gets much easier.