How to Improve Chipping By Sound and Sight

By Steve Silverman

In baseball, batters are familiar with what it sounds like when they hit the ball well. The crack of the bat is more than just a romantic notion in that sport. A ball hit well will have a certain sound to it that reverberates around a ball park. A well-struck golf shot also has a sound that is all its own. It may not be as loud and it may not be heard by many people, but the golfer who chips the ball well will not only know it from the result of the shot, but also from the sound.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Put your weight on your front foot when chipping around the green. If you are in the fairway or short rough and you are less than 50 yards from the green and have no hazards (water or sand) in front of you, you may want to play a chip. This is a shot that many inexperienced golfers can master rather quickly.
Step 2
Bring your 9-iron back to knee level. Once you get there, accelerate with your hands through the ball and do not break your wrists. You should see the ball hop up in the air about 10 feet and then bounce and roll once it comes down about 25 yards later. The sound the well-struck chip makes is an unmistakable "click" that tells the golfer the ball is on its way toward the green.
Step 3
You will hear a less distinguishable double-thud if you have not struck your chip well. Golfers who try to guide their chip shot are likely to push it and the ball may hit the blade of their 9-iron twice. This is an awful sound to golfers and the sight is even worse. The ball will likely come to rest 10 to 15 yards from where you hit it. If you are playing in a competitive tournament, hitting the ball twice on the same shot will also result in a penalty that you must call on yourself.
Step 4
Practice chipping at the driving range. After you have struck 5 or 6 chips by accelerating with your hands through the hitting zone, do it with your eyes closed. Your muscle memory will help you to remember where the ball is. The sound the ball makes on contact will tell you what kind of contact you have made.
Step 5
Look for your chip shot to stay low. It should not go more than 10 feet off the ground on its initial flight; it should go about half the distance you want through the air; and it should bounce and roll the rest of the way. Many golfers would prefer to pitch the ball with a lob wedge from a distance of 50 yards, but new golfers are more likely to succeed with the chip shot than they are with the high pitch.

Tips & Warnings

Use a chip shot when you don't have a water hazard or a bunker in front of you as you go for the green.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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