At OluKai we love a round of golf (or 10…). But sometimes it’s good to get back to basics. Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a well-seasoned guru, being able to skillfully get that ball onto the green can make all the difference in the world. From setup to swing to secret tips… we’re going to get you golf chipping with confidence!
What Chipping Is (and Isn’t)
Before we get into the how-tos, let’s quickly clarify what chipping even is. Separate from putting, these short strikes send the ball over the fairway or rough and onto the green, either landing it in the hole (ideally!) or as close to it as possible. A common definition is that chip shots have more ground time than air time. Think short and precise.
What’s the Proper Way to Chip?
Wondering how to chip a golf ball the right way? Start here…
Set Up Your Stance
- Keep your stance compact but still slightly open so you can rotate through your swing, placing most of your weight (about 80%) onto your front foot.
- However long your foot is, leave about that distance between your golf shoes and the ball. You’ll stand closer to the ball while chipping than you do driving.
- If you’re a beginner, position the ball between your feet. If you’re intermediate or advanced, scroll down for additional techniques.
- Here’s how to grip the club for better golf chipping: place your hands low on the club’s grip and keep it about even with your thigh—your shoulders and arms should form a solid triangle.
- Keep your forearms uniform, square, and straight through the stroke. To help you stay focused on this good arm posture, turn to the Wailea for her or the Wai‘alae for him. Not only are they waterproof, but the all-new cushioned midsole increases your comfort and longevity on the course.
There’s no need to help the ball get into the air when chipping. In fact, this almost always backfires! Instead, let the loft on your golf club do that work for you. Just focus on brushing the grass under the ball to get it going in the right direction.
Don’t try to hit the ball, swing! Keep your wrists solid and rotate all the way through until you make contact with the ball. And don’t forget to get your lower body involved. A common chipping mistake is using only the arms. Instead, rotate your whole body for better contact and distance control.
Keep your hands in a forward pressed position and don’t let the club head ever pass your hands on the downward strike. This way, you’ll be sure to get a less lofted club face at impact and a lower ball flight.
Which Club is Best for Chipping?
When you’re ready to chip, reach for a wedge. These are the shortest clubs in your bag with the highest loft, otherwise known as the angle between the clubface and the ground. The higher the loft, the higher the ball will launch, so you can see why these are ideal for chipping out of the rough and onto the green! There’s a range of wedge types available, but if you’re just starting out, you’ll be just fine with a pitching wedge and sand wedge.
How Can I Improve My Chipping?
Like most things in life, repetition is key, so practicing that good form we outlined above will help you out big time. But if you’re looking to really improve your technique, that’s not all you can do! Here are a couple of our favorite golf chipping drills for consistency. Best of all, you can do them practically anywhere.
Hula Hoop Drill: You’ll want to borrow your kid’s hula hoop for this one. Simply set it down at a local park or your own backyard and start chipping. Start at 5 yards from the hoop and once you feel good about your accuracy, continue increasing the distance up to 40. For drills like this one, we like to wear the Kā‘anapali or Kapalua for him and the Kawela for her. With a breezy, lightweight feel and a versatile look that fits in on the course but also at Pau Hana (happy hour), they’re the perfect pick.
Chip-A-Coin Drill: No golf balls required for this one (though you might want to use an older wedge if you’re concerned with scuffs). Put your coins on the floor and chip them into the air, aiming for a target like an empty waste basket or coffee mug if you’d like. Doing this repeatedly will help turn that chipping motion into muscle memory.
Extra Secrets to Good Chipping
Now that you’ve learned the tried-and-true techniques, here are a few more golf chipping tips and tricks:
- You can add variation when chipping off your front or back foot vs. having the ball between your feet. Chipping off your front foot usually sends the ball a bit higher and gives it a more abrupt stop on the green -- this is called a pitch shot. The best way to remember how to tell the difference between a chip and a pitch? Think of when someone sings in a high pitch (aka a high ball flight). A chip is lower to the ground. Experiment to find your sweet spots.
- Being closer to the ball with that tighter stance and straighter arms can make you subconsciously become more rigid. So to create a smoother chipping motion, remember to relax and soften your hands and arms before you take the stroke.
- Struggling with the dreaded ‘y’ word? While there’s no magical golf chipping yips solution, we know a few strategies that can help. Before you swing, try to create some distance from those nagging thoughts with deep breaths, placing your attention on the air moving in and out of your lungs. Sounds simple, but it can be effective. You can also try switching things up with a different club. Or try to take your stroke at a quicker pace so you aren’t standing over the ball overthinking for too long. It’ll pass, hang in there!
We hope after reading this, you’re well on your way to improving your golf chipping technique and using these tips to lower your scores! Now all that’s left is finding the perfect pair of shoes…