How to Pick a Club to Chip

By Contributing Writer

You can use a variety of clubs when chipping the ball, including your wedges, short irons and middle irons. There are many considerations that come into play when determining which club you should select for any particular chip. Picking the best club for a specific chip shot dramatically can increase your chances of a favorable result.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Determine the distance you need to carry the ball to your target landing spot. Landing the ball on the green as soon as possible provides the best distance control, but obstacles between you and the hole might prohibit this shot selection. Obstacles could include sprinkler heads, ridges, spines or fringe that come into play once your ball lands on the green. Choose a less-lofted club to get the ball rolling quickly and a more-lofted club to carry the ball longer distances.
Step 2
Determine the speed of the green, including the type of grass and the direction of the grain. A less-lofted club will generate less spin, and the ball will roll more freely on slower greens. Conversely, you should select a more-lofted wedge to generate more spin for faster greens.
Step 3
Decide whether you will hit a straight chip shot or work the ball right to left or left to right. Some chip shots will require you to hit the ball onto a severely sloping green, either right to left or left to right. You should learn to work the ball so it is spinning into the slope of the green. This will straighten the chip as opposed to following the natural slope of the green. For working the ball, you should choose a less-lofted club, which will make it easier to create side spin.
Step 4
Determine for a particular chip shot whether you will use a putting stroke or a traditional chipping stroke. Chipping with a putting stroke will reduce the likelihood of a mishit (thin or fat) and also enable you to better control distance. The best clubs for this technique are your 6- through 9-irons. A longer, more traditional chipping stroke will cause a higher trajectory and make it easier to put backspin on the ball. The best club selection for this shot would be your sand, gap or pitching wedge.
Step 5
Look at the lie of the ball to see how tight or fluffy the grass is. Chipping from a tight lie (very short grass) makes it harder to use more lofted clubs because it reduces your margin of error. The best club selection for tight lies is to choose one of your lesser-lofted clubs with a short, putting-style stroke if possible. If you need to hit a high-trajectory shot from a tight lie, use a more-lofted club, but put the ball back in your stance and keep your wrists cocked through impact instead of releasing them.

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