How to Hit a Golf Chip

By Mike Southern
When chipping, your hands must be ahead of the ball to ensure a downward strike.
When chipping, your hands must be ahead of the ball to ensure a downward strike.

As good as the pros are, even they miss the green quite often. If you look on the stats page at and check out the Tour average for “greens in regulation percentage” (also called GIR), you will rarely find an average higher than 67 percent. That means the average Tour player misses a full third of his greens. If Tour players miss that many greens, you know that you probably will, too. That is why you should learn how to chip properly--a good chip can eliminate an extra putt.

Drop your golf ball somewhere just off the green. While learning to chip properly, avoid extremely tall grass; drop it in an area where no more than one-third of the ball sinks into the grass.

Get your 9-iron. Although any club can be used for chipping, depending on the lie, most of the time you will probably use either a wedge or short iron. According to Annika Sorenstam in her book “Golf Annika’s Way,” a ball chipped with a 9-iron will fly about as far as it rolls. That will make your initial practice much easier, as you can simply land the ball on the green about halfway between you and the hole and know that the ball will end up fairly close if you hit it well.

Set up with the ball back in your stance--at least halfway back, possibly as far back as your right foot (if you are chipping right-handed). In any case, the club shaft must lean forward so your hands are ahead of the ball. You must hit down on the ball and catch it first, before you hit the ground. Otherwise you will catch too much grass between the face of the club and the ball, and the ball will not come out well.

Open your stance slightly. While some players can chip well from a square stance, opening your stance allows you to get your eyes more over the ball, so you can see the line better.

Lean slightly toward the target so you put a bit more weight on your left foot. This will further help you make a downward stroke on the ball.

Grip your 9-iron so the shaft is in line with your forearms, the way you do when you putt. You do not need to use your putting grip—you may want to use your regular full shot grip—but this position will still make the chip feel more like a putt. It may also raise your 9-iron up on its toe slightly, but you will catch less grass between the club and ball.

Make a normal stroke and follow through. You want to strike down on the ball, but you also want the club to travel about as far going through as it did going back. This will prevent you from decelerating the club and leaving the ball in the rough.

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