What Club To Use For Chipping?


Whether you are brand new to the game of golf or have been playing golf for 30 years, we are always on a mission to improve our short game.  The short game is the key to lower scores and playing consistently.  

Let’s face it, on any given day our ball striking might be great or might be a little off.  However, everyday we should be able to chip somewhat consistently. This all starts with the right club selection around the greens.  There are several different options you can go with and we will break those options down below.

The short game is so important. Check out our 6 tips below.

What Club To Use For Chipping?

For a basic chip the general recommendation is a wedge.  This could be a 48, 52, 56 or 60 degree wedge. Golfers have plenty of options and it often comes down to the type of chip shot and the comfort level of the golfer.

We can categorize chip shots into 4 different situations that golfers are faced with:

  • Situation 1: There is plenty of green to work with and no need to hit the ball high.  The golfer may only be 2-3 yards away from the putting surface.
  • Situation 2: The chip shot needs a little bit of carry to get to the putting surface, but there is enough green for it to roll out.  The golfer may be about 4-8 yards from the green.
  • Situation 3: The chip shot requires some distance to get to the putting surface and there is some room for the ball to roll out.  The golfer may be about 4-15 yards from the green.
  • Situation 4: The chip shot requires some distance to get to the putting surface and there is little not rom for the ball to roll out.  The golfer may be about 4-15 yards from the green.

We will guide through these different situations and the options that you have for each shot and what club would be recommended.

Situation 1 – What Club to Use for this Chip Shot?

In this situation you have plenty of green to work with.  This allows you to use the club that you feel most confident making solid contact with.  

Option 1:

Oftentimes, the higher handicap player will select the Pitching Wedge (48 degree club) and hit a bump and run.  This is an approach where a golfer takes a simple putting like motion and simply bumps the ball about 2-3 yards and let’s the ball roll the rest of the way to the hole. 

This is the most simple of chip shots and easiest to execute. There is less risk with this shot than any other chip shot. The golfer can take their hands out of the swing and make the simple putting motion.

Option 2:

The more advanced golfer may select to take a higher lofted club and deloft the club by playing the ball more back in their stance.  Some people will take the approach of using the Lob Wedge (60 degree) in all chipping situations. The philosophy behind this is that a golfer can get very comfortable with one club and turn it into different lofts by the ball positions and where the golfer positions their hands.  This is the approach that Phil Mickelson uses. While other golfers might vary what club they will use.

A golfer might also select option two if there is a major contour in the green that will impact the bump and run type of shot.

Do This To Hole More Green side Chips with Shawn Clement:

Situation 2: What Club to Use for this Chip Shot?

In this situation the ball must carry a bit further than in the first situation.  The golfer will more than likely select a wedge in the 52 to 60 degree loft area. This is typically a gap wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge.  Once again, the key here is to select a club that provides you with the most confident for solid ball striking. There is nothing worse than chunking a shot and having it only travel 2 to 3 yards and now be faced with the same issue.

Option 1:

The golfer that prefers to play the ball lower and let it roll out may select a 52 to 56 degree wedge, play it a bit back in the stance and make a simple motion to get the ball flying.  The majority of the shot will consist of the ball rolling and the golfer is flying the ball just far enough to get it to the putting surface.

Option 2:

The golfer may elect to fly the ball at least half way to the hole and then let it roll out the remaining distance.  This golfer would select a 56 or 60 degree wedge and may vary where in the stance the ball is played. Much of this decisions can be impacted by the lie that the golfer has and what the grass around the ball looks like.

The Phil Mickelson Approach to Chipping:

Situation 3 – What Club to Use for this Chip Shot?

We are now faced with a situation where the ball has less room to roll out.  This situtation calls for a 56 or 60 degree wedge. Once again, confidence is key and the golfer must pick a club that he or she feels most comfortable with.  Do not ever force a shot. When in doubt, take a more conservative line and make sure you are putting on the next hole.

Option1:

Take the 56 degree wedge and fly it just far enough onto the green or fringe and let it roll out.  The key here is to have soft hands and allow the ball to land softly. It may take opening the club face a bit and remaining patient in the down swing.

Option 2:

Take the 60 degree wedge and carry it just short of the hole and allow the height of the shot to allow the ball stop close to the hole.

Situation 4 – What Club to Use for this Chip Shot?

In this situation we are faced with very limited room for roll out.  We are pretty much forced into one option. The way to avoid these situations is to make a better swing or decision on the approach shot and make sure you do not “short side” yourself around a green. 

A short side is when you leave the ball just off the green closest to where the pin is located. These pins that are placed closed to the edge are tempting you to hit at the pin and miss. This almost always guarantees at least a bogey or more.  However, not all hope is lost and there is a chance to get up and down to save par with enough practice and the right club.

Option 1:

Take the 60 degree wedge and play a flop shot.  This typically consists of playing the club a bit forward in the stance with the wedge somewhat open.  Aim a bit left (for the right handed golfer) and hit down and through the ball. The ball should pop up in the air and land softly.

Option 2:

If you can’t hit this shot, look to hit it towards the center of the green and ensure yourself that you have a putt for your next shot.  Do not make the situation worse and leave it in the bunker or short of the green. Make sure you get the ball on the putting surface!

How To Hit A Flop Shot With Phil Mickelson:

Tips For Excellent Chipping

Tip 1: Practice, Practice Practice

You can practice chipping in many different places.  Have you ever thought of chipping ping pong balls in your basement or living room if you have soft carpet?  This can help you get the right motion and get the reps in that you need to be a great short game player.  

Also, practicing at most public golf courses on the putting green is free.  Take advantage of that opportunity. Our recommended game after hitting chip shots for 15-20 minutes is to see how many times you can get up and down out of 10.  Track your progress over time. The goal should be 60% during the practice and 50% on the golf course. The great thing about chipping is that your form doesn’t have to be perfect, just something that can maintain under pressure and is repeatable.

Tip 2: Watch Your Change of Pace

Do not swing forward too fast or slow down ever.  Keep a constant speed throughout your chipping. The death move in chipping is rapid acceleration which leads to the yips.  You must remain in constant motion. If you need help with this check out Tour Tempos 2:1 ratio when chipping. DO NOT RUSH WHEN CHIPPING!  STAY CALM! I know, easier said than done, but we can set it as a goal.

Tip 3: Use The Bounce

Find a way to use the bounce on your wedge.  Watch what the pros do, they are using the bounce to provide a wider margin of error when chipping.  When you use too much leading edge, it can lead to disastrous shots.

Tip 4: Make Sure your Next Shot is a Putt

Whatever you do, you must ensure that your next shot is a putt.  If this means hitting it 10-20 feet past the hole, that is fine. Just make sure you are putting.

Tip 5: Buy a 60 Degree Wedge

With the speed of greens now and the firmness of the greens if you want to become a serious, quality golfer, then you need a 60 degree wedge or at least a 58 degree.  Learn how to hit the club and the game will become easier. It will allow you to attack more pins and play more aggressively. Golfers that played when the greens were softer and slower might try to convince you otherwise, but these clubs are fantastic to learn how to hit. . Be like a kid and spend 2-3 hours around a green with a 60 and use some imagination.  You just might be surprised what you have inside of you.

Tip 6: Keep It Simple

When you can, keep the chipping motion as simple as possible.  The Steve Stricker or Jason Day approach is great in the early spring when the ground is a bit muddy or when you are nervous.  Remove the hands a bit and make a smooth, tempo based, chipping motion that is guaranteed to make solid contact with the ball. You don’t have to hit the Tiger Woods, full swing, flop shot to play quality golf, but you do need a simple chipping motion that you can own!

The Secret to Better Scores

Don’t tell your playing partners, but the true path to better golf and more consistent golf can be found int he short game.  Find a way to practice at least 1-2 hours a week on your short game and you just might be surprised what happens to your score. 

If you only hit 8 greens in regulation and you can par on all 8, you are now left with 10 chip shots you have to make. Try to start by getting up and down for par on 4 out of these 10 situations.  You will find that you are now shooting in the 70s.  

One simple solution I was taught as a youngster that couldn’t reach all the holes in regulation was to try to be around every green in regulation and then find a way to save par 50% of the time.  This simple formula is a great way to learn how to shoot in the 30’s for 9 holes or the 70’s for 18 holes.

You do not have to be a great ball striker, you just have to manage your game and practice your chipping.  Any person or any age, can become a better chipper and quickly reduce their scores. So take action and let’s get better today.

Here is some other advice on improving your overall game:

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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