The connection is obvious between chipping in and lower golf scores. Jarring one from 25 yards or more off the green reduces my golf score by at least two strokes a majority of the time. It makes sense because most amateurs have a low up and down percentage regardless of where they chip from. It is a stoke of luck all golfers want, but rarely achieve. I wonder why it is so difficult to achieve considering the thousands of balls I chip every year. Chipping in is not something I do on a regular basis; how about you?
I have chipped in from time to time in the past, but never more often than to consider it a fluke. It is one of those skills that seem to elude my game. I chip close quite often and that helps my scores, but rarely do hear the sound of the ball dropping in the cup from outside of 25 yards.
Chipping for any distance has it challenges. The variables seem endless because every time we play the shot, very few factors remain constant. This fluid environment is what makes chipping in from any distance difficult.
I recently mentioned that my friend Blair chipped in on a par 5 from about 30 yards out. His probable 6 dropped to a birdie 4 in just one stroke. He laughed and smiled as he picked up his ball as he beat me on the hole. This one stroke of his changed his fortune for a moment and lowered his golf score. It is a shot I hoped to repeat that day, but never did.
There are many factors to consider when chipping from 25 yards out and I have in past articles and I thought I would recap my thoughts:
- First, line the chip up like a putt. Take the time to actually read the green, the slope, grain, and location of the hole.
- Second, decide how hard to hit the ball by choose the landing spot for the ball. This part is extremely important! By determining where to land the ball will result in how far the ball will eventually travel and the line it travels on.
- Third, select a club. The club used will vary depending hazards, course conditions, landing position and how flat the course is between the ball and the hole. The traditional wisdom is to use an 8-iron, but I am anything but traditional. The point is, pick the club you feel will get the job done.
- Fourth, I use a putter grip on the club. It softens your hands, ensures your wrists remain locked and enables the club head to follow the path of your line.
- Fifth, take practice swings. Take as many as required until you have determined the speed required land the ball on your aiming point. It is very important that you take these practice swings in the type of grass your ball is in.
- Six, I visualize the ball going in the hole. This step is also very important. Some will say to visualize a three-foot circle around the hole, but think that approach is not aggressive enough.
- Seventh and last, do not be afraid to hit the ball past the hole. 100% of short putts do not go in! This convention works for chipping as well. It is easier to hit the ball a little softer on the next stroke than to try to hit it a bit harder. Additionally, watch the ball go past the hole – it will show you the line coming back if needed.
The above list are factors I consider when chipping from anywhere around the green. In my mind there is one factor that rises above the rest; club selection. I know it is third in the process, but depending on which club you select will vary many of the other factors like landing position. I realize this could be the chicken and the egg conversation, but everything starts somewhere and in this case club selection is where I choose to start. So, when you are chipping around the green, ensure you select the right club for the shot, not just the club you use all the time. It will make a difference.
Chipping in definitely lowers our golf scores. It is something that happens infrequently during my game, but is welcome at any time. Regardless, the by-product of solid chipping is to get up and down to save strokes. I always try to sink every chip, but there is something to be said for having a tap in more often than not.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!