Putt onto the green when you can.
Chip onto the green only when you can’t putt.
What shot do you choose when you have determined unpredictable ground conditions prohibit putting from off the green? When you can’t putt, the wise golfer’s second choice will be to choose the low trajectory chip shot. A chip shot hops over unpredictable ground conditions. A chip shot travels for a short time through the air barely above ground level and then rolls to the flag. It’s a low shot.
A chip shot is a knee high or lower shot. A chip shot never goes high. A chip spends more time on the ground rolling than in the air. A chip behaves much like a putt when it’s rolling on the ground.
Chip with your 7 iron. Golfers are allowed only fourteen clubs. Therefore, some clubs do double duty. Experienced golfers can hit a long approach with their 7 iron–a full shot. They can use that same 7 iron for chipping when close to the green—a part-shot.
When you’re chipping, you’ll hit the ball with your 7 iron with almost the same lateral force you would use if you were using your putter from that same distance. That’s why you need to become proficient with your putter from off the green. Putting from off the green and chipping from off the green are brother and sister. You’ll use practically the same lateral force with both. The feel you will develop when you learn to putt from off the green will serve you well when you are forced to chip from off the green.
The set up for a chip shot is different from the set up for a putt because of the difference in the loft of the two clubs. The 7 iron has a good bit of loft. The putter no loft.
You play the ball more off your front foot when you putt from off the green because the putter has no loft. You play a chip shot off your right foot because you have a club with loft and the 7-iron must brush the soil in order to hit the ball in the middle of the clubface.
- You choose to chip the golf ball onto the green when unpredictable ground conditions prohibit the use of the putter.
- A chip shot hops over unpredictable ground conditions and then rolls onto the green.
- A chip shot does not go high into the air. (A short shot high into the air is called a pitch shot).
- A chip is executed much like a long putt but using a lofted club, usually a 7 or 8 iron.
- The heavy head and flat bottom of the 7 iron makes it easy to use in the longer grass around the green.
How do you chip with a 7 iron?
- Grip down the handle of your 7 iron. Grip down so the 7 iron is the same length as your putter. When chipping I always touch the steel shaft of my 7 iron with my right index finger so I can be assured of the exact same balance point every time I chip.
- Feet very close together—almost touching.
- Point your right toe at the ball. Place your right foot perfectly square to the intended line of flight. Thus, your right foot is at a perfect right angle to the target line. Kinda like a T-square would look.
- Stand very close to the ball. The ball should be no more than 12 or 14 inches from your right big toe.
- Stand a little more upright than a full-swing shot because you’re standing so close and you’re gripping down the handle all the way to the shaft.
- The top of the handle of the club almost touching your clothing. Standing too far from the ball makes your arms unstable and you’ll tend to spray the ball.
- Let the top of the handle of the 7 iron be pointing toward your left shoulder joint in a line with your left arm. This will put your hands and head in front of the club head and the ball.
- Have more weight on your left heel than the right.
- No weight transfer during the shot. NEVER let the weight transfer to your right leg during the backswing. There is NO WEIGHT SHIFT in chipping. NONE. Your weight is on your left heel throughout the swing. There is no need for a weight transfer. This is a delicate part-shot. Don’t complicate things with weight shift.
- Use very little wrist action. (no flipping of the wrists)
- L-o-w to the ground backswing with very little wrist action.
- Swing through the ball with a smooth stroke (not a jabbing motion). Almost let the club swing itself.
- Steady head throughout the swing just like the putting action.
- See the spot under the ball after impact. After you swing through the ball and the ball is on its way, make certain you see the ground where the ball was. This will insure you keep a steady head throughout.
- Strike the ball with a downward blow. Because you’re playing the golf ball on the right side of your stance in front of your right toe and you’re leaning left with your weight on your left heel, the clubhead will contact the golf ball with a downward motion. (if the ball was on the left side of your stance you would tend to contact the ball on the upswing)
- The bottom of the club will go through the ball and down into the grass to the soil—this is why using the putter from off the green is easier than chipping. The putter doesn’t contact the soil.
- Control distance with length of backswing. The golfer controls distance on all part shots by using a shorter backswing for short shots and a longer backswing for longer shots. Short shot around the green-short backswing. Longer shot around the green-longer backswing.
WARNING-Any weight shift to the right leg in an attempt to help the ball into the air with an upward, scooping-flipping motion of the club head will be bad—very bad—really bad. Scooping is excellent for ice cream but dreadful for chipping.
Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,
ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA and the Elit bronze.
pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.
ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.
Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? The digital book is $2.99.Click Here.
I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read. Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate.