Golf: Where was it?Part 14: Chipping


HARARE – If your approach shot is on the green you will have skipped some stages. You will straight away pull out your putter out from the bag and go into putting.

But this is not usually the case. In quite a lot of the cases your ball will be just outside the green. This then calls for chipping.

Chipping is meant to lift the ball over some long grass before the green or at the fringe. It is, in fact, a continuation of putting.

The only exception is in a chip shot, because the club used has more loft than the putter the ball will temporarily fly over some grass before it lands on the green and rolls to the hole.

The ball should spend minimum air time and have maximum ground time.

It is not over until the ball is in the hole and at rest. Thus the aim of every chip shot should be to get the ball to as close to the hole as is possible so that your next stroke would be a tap in putt.

However, learn to chip the ball into the hole whenever your ball is around the green or fringe.

Practising this type of shot can be rewarding particularly if you are rarely on the green in regulation.

Do not be intimidated by your fellow competitors by their approach shots which may be on the green.

Have confidence in yourself that your ball which may be on the fringe can be in the hole as a result of your chip shot and that if it fails to get in it will be just by the hole the result of which will be a tap in putt. In many cases your competitors will have two putts and the result is the same. You will have used your chipping skill to maximum benefit.

Fundamentals of a chip shot Before going into details, let me pause a question, what golf club do you think is ideal for a chip shot? You can surely get variety of answers and get confused as to what club you should then use, particularly if you are new to the game.

The answer to this is very simple indeed. Any club is the answer with the exception of a putter. This means you can use any club from 3 iron up to sand wedge.

The choice is yours. But since in a chip the ball should fly in the air before landing on the green, a 3, 4,5, or 6 iron may not be the very ideal clubs to learn to chip with for maximum accuracy. Between 7 to 10 iron would be the range to choose from as they have some loft which will ensure that the ball gets in the air first.

When it lands on the green, the remaining distance to the hole should be 2/3, that is, from where the green starts to the hole will have been segmented into 3 parts in your mind.

What I can advise those that are not confident on their chip shots, please spend considerable time practising different clubs until you find a club which does what you want, a club you know will deliver results, a club which will not let you down.

When playing chip shots, always keep your head steady until the ball is struck.

At address the hands and the club should be behind the ball. You should grip the club a little downwards towards the bottom end of the grip to improve your control of the club and therefore the shot.

Grip pressure should be the same with the one you apply when you grip your putter. A putter grip works just as good for chip shots.

You should apply minimum wrist break through the shot. The ball should be positioned opposite the right foot and between 60 – 70  percent of the body weight should be on the left foot. You should narrow your stance and apply a short backswing.

When hitting the ball make sure that you accelerate through impact.

And as is the case with other shots, you should hit the ball at the centre of the club face at its sweet spot.   

*For any feedback/ comments and any assistance you may need please contact the writer, Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche at The Centre for Training and Research Services on email:  or mobile no. +263712200922 /+263772319612  

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