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Precision Chipping — Golf Ball Flight to Roll Guides for Chip Shots

   Jun 26

Precision Chipping — Golf Ball Flight to Roll Guides for Chip Shots

Your approach shot fell short of the green by 20 yards. Now you’re faced with what looks like a straightforward chip shot. There are no sand traps between you and the green. The fairway and green are both fairly level.

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How do you play this chip shot? Which club you should use depends partly on where you want the ball to land and how far you want the ball to roll until it comes to a stop in the hole.

Which club should you use?

The classic chip shot is struck so that the ball flies through the air part of the distance to the pin, and then rolls for the rest of the distance. When you’re fairly close to the green it is easier to control distance with a chip shot than with a pitch shot.

Guides for chip shots

Chip shots can be made with most any iron depending on how far you want the ball to fly in relation to roll distance. The loft of a 7 iron will cause a chip shot to roll approximately 5 times the distance it travels through the air — the total distance traveled will be 6 times the flight distance.

Pick a landing spot for your chip shot one-sixth the distance to the pin. Aim to land your 7-iron shot exactly on that spot and let the ball roll (hopefully) into the hole.

chipping club ball roll to flight ratio pick a landing spot
7-iron 5 times 1/6th distance to pin
8-iron 4 times 1/5th distance to pin
9-iron 3 times 1/4th distance to pin
pitching wedge 2 times 1/3rd distance to pin
gap wedge* 1 times 1/2 distance to pin

*a gap wedge has a loft between that of a sand wedge and a pitching wedge;
it fills the gap between these two clubs.

More golf chipping tips

Go to your practice green, find level ground from fairway to the green, and practice. Use the guides above to start off. Work on your own chip shots — you may find adjustments are needed to fit your style of chipping.

If you are facing an uphill slope, the ball will not roll as far — make an adjustment in club selection and landing spot depending on how much slope you’re facing.

Be careful on downhill slopes. The ball will roll further downhill, especially on fast greens.  Use a more lofted chipping club and pick a much closer landing spot.

If your landing spot is on the fairway rather than the green, there will be less ball roll until it reaches the green.

Practice chipping with different distances and ground slopes until you’re comfortable.

In the end, you have to develop a “feel” for the chip shot. While you can analyze your shot in many different way, sense and feel are essential to precision chipping. That comes with practice and play.

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Have fun. Enjoy golf!
John Janson

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