One of the questions that I'm most frequently asked is, what club do I use chipping around the green? When can I use a putter? When do I have to chip? I'm going to address that issue for you right now.
When to Use a putter For a Greenside Shot
I use a putter only when I am one or two feet off the green and the grass between my ball and the front of the green is very short. Perhaps on a down hill situation I will also use a putter. The stroke is very similar to that of a long putt; however you must be a little bit more aggressive because you have to go over longer grass.
When to Chip Greenside
Now let's move on to the real chip. I have chosen a 7-iron for the shot where I am three or four feet off the green because the theory of chipping is to get the ball on the green as quickly as possible and have it roll to the hole with the least amount of effort. I've chosen a seven because it is a less lofted club, and the fact that it is less lofted means the ball will not stay in the air that long.
You always make club selections based on the least amount of effort; it is easier to judge how far a ball will roll than how far it will fly in the air and then roll. As we move back and we are farther away from the front of the green I must go with a more lofted golf club because the ball must go in the air a longer distance to reach the green.
Choosing a Club for Chipping
In this case, I have selected a 9-iron, now the 9-iron with more loft is going to get the ball in the air a little faster, it's going to stay in the air longer. But still we want to get the ball on the green as quickly as possible and have it roll to the hole. Now the stroke is similar to the 7-iron. The basic principle is to select the club which is going to get the ball on the green as efficiently and with as little amount of effort as possible. It's going to save a lot of strokes on your short game.