Chipping From A Tight Lie (5 Tips)


This helps with extra roll on our drives, but golfers are often faced with the difficult task of hitting a chip shot off a tight lie.

This shot might be the most difficult short game shot in golf.  The golfer might only need the ball to travel a total of 5-20 yards and must have quality touch, technique and a commitment to the shot they select.

Oftentimes, a golfer will blade, chunk or hit the ball too far from the anxiety caused by this shot.  There are professional golfers that have often struggled with this shot under pressure, but we do have some tips to help you improve at this shot.

Chipping From A Tight Light (5 Tips)

Here are the best tips that help me hit quality shots from this difficult fairway lie:

  • Use a sand wedge or lob wedge that has bounce
  • Don’t be afraid of the ground
  • Keep your hands equal to the club face
  • Keep the speed consistent and moving
  • Consider a bump and run
Tight lies can start to get into a golfers head. Make sure you get plenty of practice time in.

Tip #1: Use a sand wedge or lob wedge that has bounce

The bounce on the club is your best friend for this shot.  The last thing you want is the leading edge digging into the ground.  When this happens the golfer is left with very little room for error and ift not struck properly will often results in a chunked shot or the golfer lifts up and panics at the last moment and blades it over the green.

The bounce is designed to allow the club to keep moving when you strike the ground.  The bounce is your friend and you can work on using the bounce to provide you with a larger margin for error on this difficult shot.

I would recommend using your 60 degree lob wedge, which will provide enough loft and enough bounce to hit the shot how you need to.

Related Post: Tips for Chipping (5 Tips)

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid of the ground

Once you understand how to use the bounce, you want to use the ground and not fear it.  Too many golfers will try to avoid the ground because they fear the chunked shot.  When you use the bounce of the club and can go strike the ground, you will find that you can hit a bit behind the ball and the shot will still have a decent result.

Many golfers are simply trying to avoid the embarrassing shot.  Using the bounce and the ground will allow you to avoid the shot and actually have an above average result.

The next time you are practicing, find a tight fairway lie and try to actually hit behind the ball and test out the bounce on your club.  This will help you build confidence and the feel that it takes to hit a quality shot.  Once we can eliminate the fear of the ground, we can approach the shot with confidence and commitment.

Related Post: Using the Bounce When Chipping (7 Tips)

Tip #3: Keep your hands equal to the club face

When you are setting up you want your hands to be pretty neutral in relation to the club face.  Do not push your hands too far forward or too far back.  Instead keep them pretty equal and in line with the golf ball.  At impact you want to try to get back to this position and through the ball.

In a full shot in the game of golf, the golfer is often trying to deloft the club and maximize comprehension of the golf ball.  On this difficult chip shot, the main goal is solid contact and distance control.  You do not need to maximize speed or compression to hit a quality shot here.  Therefore, keep those hands equal with the ball at impact.  Once you start pushing your hands too far forward on the downswing, you increase your chances of a chunked shot.

Helpful Post: When to use a 60 degree wedge

Tip #4: Keep the speed consistent and moving

During your practice routine for this shot, decide the length and the speed of the swing you need to have the ball travel the optimum distance for the shot.  Feel the speed and then maintain that speed throughout the shot.

Disaster on this shot occurs when a golfer speeds up too much or even worse slows down.  Keep the pace consistent, which will allow you to keep your hands equal to the club and keeps the hands from moving forward.  

When practicing, test out different speeds in your chipping to find out what you are most comfortable with and what produces the best results.  The best golfers often use three speeds and three lengths to control distances with a variety of clubs.  

For this shot, I would recommend finding a speed that is most comfortable, eliminates the disaster shot and keeps your round moving forward.

Tip #5: Consider the bump and run

If you get to this shot and lack total confidence, I would highly recommend a bump and run with a 7 thru 9 iron.  The goal here is to get the ball on the green and inside of 20 feet.  Until you are able to practice the lob wedge shot, stick with this shot and work during your practice sessions on building confidence.  Over time and as you look to take your game to the next level, it will be important to develop the shot with the lob wedge, but in the meantime you can go with a bump and run.

Simply set up to the shot and make a putting like motion, but with a 7, 8 or 9.  

Helpful Post: Chipping with a 9 Iron (5 Tips)

Some of the tightest lies in all of golf! Make sure you get some practice in!

BONUS: Practice Game

When I am practicing my short game, after hitting a variety of chip shots for 15-20 minutes, I like to test and assess my game with the following dril:

  • I throw the ball to a random spot around the practice green.
  • I go through my process of deciding what shot I am going to hit.
  • I hit the shot towards the determined hole.
  • I see if I can then make the putt.
  • I keep track out of 20 attempts how many times I can hit one chip and one putt out of the 20 attempts.
  • I monitor this over time and expect a number between 14 and 15 out of 20.  This will often translate to around 50-60% scrambling rate on the golf course.

You can complete this assessment/game from tight lies and build up the pressure by setting a goal.

It keeps the pressure on because I have a goal out of 20 how many times I expect to be successful.  It also gives me a benchmark to track over time to see if I am improving.

Resource: 22 Practice Games

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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