Golf Chipping Tips for Beginners – Scramble Like a Pro
This is a segment of the game that can be your jail-free card every time your approach shot fails you. It is something every top scrambler on the PGA Tour executes next to perfection. With some golf chipping tips for beginners, you could elevate your game and make your rounds more enjoyable.
There are a lot of golfers, new or experienced who find themselves in tricky situations on the course. A lot of those situations involve chip shots. They are very different from any shot that involves a full, three-quarters, or half swing. Golfers can get a bit nervous over chip shots, mostly because they can go wrong in so many ways.
You find yourself so close to the green, and all you need to do is hit that ball just enough to place it close to the hole. Sounds easy, but it is far from that. Chipping has often a hard learning curve, and it can take a longer time for a golfer to get comfortable doing it. Luckily, there are ways your golfing life can get easier.
1. Position the Ball Accordingly
The ball position at setup is very important for any golf shot, including chipping. It can affect things like the ball’s flight and the contact your club makes with the ball. When it comes to chip shots, you can position the ball depending on what you want to accomplish with the shot.
A lot of times the ball in the wrong position can lead to unwanted outcomes. This is when thick and thin shots come into play. We all experienced that feeling of watching the ball go either too far or barely move out of its place. Consistent shots come with practice, and the ball position is a good start.
Here are the positions and what you can expect:
- Center of stance – this is a common placement for a regular chip with a medium flight height. You can use it when you have some green to work with or a small obstacle like a bit of rough for the ball to go over.
- Toward your lead foot – this is when you need a bit higher flight for the ball to stop quicker on the green. When your ball lands on the flag side with less green to work with, this could be an option.
- Toward your trail foot – when you want the ball to barely get off the ground and roll all the way. With this ball position, you can do a putting stroke, good when you land close to the green with short rough and no obstacles.
2. Move Your Arms and Shoulders in Sync
This is very important when executing a chip shot in order to have solid contact. If you are rushing your arms or your shoulders, it most likely results in a mishit. This will also contribute to the swing tempo which will lead to a better chip. The last thing you need is to rush the backswing or the downswing.
When your arms and shoulders are moving in sync, you have the best chance to get the club at the lowest point exactly when it needs to be there. That is when the club has to hit the golf ball. The chip swing is much shorter than other swings, and for that reason, it is important there is as little movement as possible.
In addition to the arms and shoulders sync, there should not be any wrist movement whatsoever. If you start moving your wrists through the swing, it will be hard to control the outcome. Keep the same tempo through the swing, lock your shoulders and arms, and keep your wrists quiet, and it will be fine.
3. Take a Narrower Stance
Chipping is not about swing speed and long distance, it is all about control. It is easier to obtain better control with a narrower stance versus a wider one. Usually, that means having the feet way closer than for usual swings, even almost touching on short chips.
This way it is easier to control your tempo and to control the lowest point of your swing for solid contact. In addition to having a narrower stance, your weight can be distributed slightly in favor of your lead leg. This will help you with contact, so you actually hit the ball at the right point.
4. Do Not Always Chip With the Most Lofted Club
For some reason, a lot of golfers as soon as they need to chip, reach right away for their highest lofted clubs. There is nothing wrong with that, especially if they can hit those clubs purely. That is not easy, especially with clubs with lofts over 54 degrees. Those shots can turn into disaster before you know it.
A lot of times using the most lofted club is fine, especially if there is an obstacle the ball has to go over to get on the green. But in other situations, specifically the ones on the fringe, it might be better to use a less lofted club. That way it is easier to control the shot, and there are fewer chances for things to south.
Consider using a less lofted club, like a 7-iron. That will allow you to hit a nice bump and run chip in order to roll the ball towards the hole. You can even do a putting stroke if the lie allows it in order to increase the pace control.
Practice and Patience
I am sure there are plenty of us who still remember how terrified we were just at the thought of chipping. Depending on the situation, sometimes I still am terrified. Probably a few of you are as well. Chipping is hard enough, and for that reason, you should do everything to make it as easy as possible.
Sure, it gets a bit easier the longer you play. You may not want to wait a long time for chipping to get naturally better. Try some suggestions from above, and see how it works. Some might work better than others, find what is best for you. You can always make some tweaks to adjust your chipping.
If you have the opportunity to practice chip shots at a golfing practice facility, you are a lucky golfer. In case you don’t, try to do it at home or in a park. Practice is important, especially if you are trying to change something in your game. Be persistent, never give up, and the results will come.