Changing the Loft When Chipping

The loft on a golf club are designed for specific reasons. Some are lower lofts to hit the ball far and others are higher to help control your shot at the pin. This is a known fact and yet many players grab a lofted club (like a wedge) and change their stance and grip to de-loft the face. I have to admit that early in my career, I felt it was the right thing to do, but now it just seems crazy!

It does not make any sense to use a 56 degree sand wedge and change to loft to it is now a 7 iron. Why not just use a 7 iron? Generally, players have a huge forward press because they chip with only one club and adjust their hands to meet their needs. This is folly and I do not recommend it.

I realize that it takes some practice to hit different clubs, but it really makes the most sense because we would be using the same swing (which is sustainable and repeatable) but with different results if we just changed clubs.

Interestingly, many amateurs only make this adjustment with their short, scoring clubs. I cannot imagine forcing my hands forward with my woods or long irons, my ball would end up in the woods to the right. So, I wonder where the convention of a massive forward press came from when chipping or pitching? It is an urban legend that most players debunk, but it takes time and frustration to accomplish.

In the visual infographic, I would be using a different club for each shot. Given all the conditions remained identical and it was a straight forward shot no hazards out of the fairway: I would use 7-iron for the short chip, PW for the medium shot, and a gap or sand wedge for the long chip. This might seem opposite to what you would normally use (longer irons for the longer shot), but it works for my game. However, out of long grass or over hazards, I would select different lofted clubs to meet the needs of the shot. There is no standard answer.

Moving forward, I suggest that instead of moving your hands forward to change how the ball reacts off your club, to change your club and keep the exact same swing during all shots. It is sustainable, repeatable, and the most consistent way to score.

Do you forward press and de-loft your club?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Changing the Loft When Chipping

  1. Jim, good advice to standardize the chip shot and just change clubs. On occasion, I will change the loft on my 58, but only because I practice it every time out. I have a low, medium, and high trajectory shot that I can use in different situations. The advantage of the low (played off my back foot) is that I can spin the shot. This requires me to slightly hood the clubface going back and should not be attempted without significant practice. It helps to hit this low shot coming uphill, and use more loft for short chips downhill. All these I play from good lies. Otherwise, I’ll select the club that keeps the ball as low as possible and try to remain consistent through the bag.

    Thanks!

    Brian

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    • Brian

      Thanks. I, like you, will select a different club for anything but a good lie. Conditions do dictate how to approach a chip shot, but off the fairway, I try to standardize my swing as much as possible. The goal, as you articulated, is to remain consistent through the bag.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not to be “that guy” but, I had to chuckle when I read the note you have on your info graphic for 40 yards. “Have your hands lead the shot through contact” which of course is de-lofting the club and exactly what your article says not to do. That said, I’ve watched other video’s that tell you to do just that to get the one bounce and stop action from your wedges. I think the biggest concern is the conditions you’re hitting from. I once played with some kids from the David Ledbetter School who were getting a round in to familiarize themselves before a tournament and they had their coaches with them. The coaches instructed me not to hit my chips with my hands forward too. But the big thing was I was doing it from the rough and they explained that the Bermuda grass I was hitting from just grabs the leading edge and drags it down causing mishits when I did it from there. Since then, I don’t do it nearly as often and only when the conditions are suited to that kind of shot which I admit is rarely. A short bump and run from the throat to clear a piece of grass I don’t trust rolling over I feel safe enough to do that when chipping on. But in most cases, I’d rather do anything but that type of shot anymore. But like your 40 yard shot, it can be a handy skill to have in the bag sometimes.

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    • Kevin

      I can see your point and never worry about discussing golf with me. I am open to all avenues of conversation. For me, during the natural set up for a 40 yard shot, my hands are slightly ahead or even with the ball. So when I mention go let your hands lead the shot, it is to limit the wrist flip and hitting the ball short. Hope that clears things up a bit.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

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