Most golfers know that no matter how well they hit the ball off the tee or from the fairway, putting low numbers on the scorecard is about the short game. Not only do you have to know how to pitch the ball on the green and then putt well, you also have to know how to chip. While this is one of the simplest shots in golf, you need vision and practice to chip successfully.
Chip the ball on to the green when you are within 30 yards and you are not facing a hazard. This is the basic chipping position. Take a club like your 7 or 8 iron and shorten up your grip so you are holding it about one-third of the way down the shaft. You are now going to use that club as if it were a putter. Take the club back to about midcalf level and hit the ball while keeping your wrists stiff. You should be able to come within 6 feet of the hole.
Use your 7 iron to chip the ball when you are 60 to 80 yards away from the hole. This shot, called the "bump-and-run," may be even more effective than the pitch. However, you cannot hit a bump-and-run if you are facing a water hazard or a bunker. In those cases, you must pitch the ball high over the hazard.
Use your 5 iron when you are in the rough and have to hit the ball out of high grass. All you want to do is set yourself up for your next shot. Many golfers make the mistake of trying to attack the green even though the ball is stuck in vegetation. That's a mistake. You should chip the ball out of trouble with a hard, punching stroke.
Chip the ball with your 9 iron when you are going uphill and you want the ball to pop in the air about halfway to the hole and then roll the rest of the way to the hole. An uphill shot is usually a straight shot, and getting the ball in the air will ensure that your shot will have enough momentum to roll toward the hole once it hits the ground.
Go to the driving range and work on chipping. Most golfers will swing their drivers and long irons at the range. However, your 7, 8 and 9 irons have more to do with your scoring than nearly any other club, and you should hit 10 shots with each club on the practice tee.
Tips & Warnings
Visualize a successful shot every time you chip. Figure out what it will take to get the ball on the green and near the hole and then execute with a stiff-wristed shot that is similar to an elongated putt.