One of the most common (and important) shots any golfer — amateur or professional — will face out on the golf course is the chip shot.
A chip shot is a shot executed off the green, typically round 5-100 feet from the hole and with a high-lofted iron or wedge. The backswing of a chip shot usually doesn’t go past hip level, and most chip shots have a very low and short trajectory with rollout.
Amateurs, particularly beginners, will constantly find themselves in situations calling for a chip shot over the course of a round. Thus, it’s critical to develop a solid and reliable technique for them if you want to have any chance of shooting a respectable score.
How can you improve your chipping game? It’s not something that will happen overnight, but here are some drills you can work on, as well as some tips, that should help you improve your technique and feel for chipping.
1. The One-Hand Follow-Through Drill
This drill is best for golfers who tend to make a “flicking” or “handsy” motion in their chipping stroke that causes thin shots.
Assume your normal chip shot setup position and make your backswing.
Coming into the ball in the downswing, gently let your right hand (for a right-handed golfer) come off the club and let your left side carry the club into the follow through. Rinse and repeat.
This drill will help you to stop flicking/releasing the club before impact.
It will help you develop the feel for proper chipping: keeping your wrists hinged slightly through impact, since the right hand is responsible for releasing the club.
The drill can be repeated until you feel comfortable with the motion.
See PGA Advanced Professional Mark Wood demonstrate this drill in the video below:
2. The Staggering Drill
This drill is for golfers who want to improve their distance control on their chips.
By the green or in an open grassed area, start by chipping a golf ball to a position a few yards in front of you.
Then try to chip a second ball about a foot or so past the first ball. Then try to chip a third ball about a foot or so past the second.
Continue with more balls, each time trying to chip the ball about a foot or so past the ball that is farthest from you. If you happen to hit a ball shorter than the ball farthest from you, bring all the balls back and start the process again.
Try to get through your entire pile of balls without bringing any back.
This drill will help you concentrate and focus on your chipping distance control, more so than hitting to random targets would.
As you perform this drill, you will find that you will start to develop a good and consistent technique naturally, and you’ll be able to apply it on the golf course.
This drill is discussed by PGA golf coach Mark Crossfield in the video below. Check it out:
3. Chipping Drill Using Alignment Aid
This drill is for golfers who are having trouble getting a consistent trajectory on their chip shots.
You’ll need an alignment aid for this drill, which can be bought here or at a home hardware store such as Home Depot.
Either line the alignment stick up with the shaft of the golf club (held in place with your hands) or insert it into the hole on the top of the grip.
Then chip a golf ball using the “hinge-and-hold” method: hinge your wrists going back and maintain that hinge going down and through the ball.
The hinge-and-hold method (advocated by Phil Mickelson) helps you strike the ball with a consistent effective loft and thus improve your chipping consistency overall.
This drill will give you the feedback you need to know if you’re using the correct chipping technique.
The alignment aid stick provides feedback in the sense that if you’re using the correct technique, it shouldn’t hit you at any point during the swing. If you’re releasing the club through the ball, you will find that the alignment aid touches your torso in the follow-through.
The drill can be performed anywhere, whether it’s off the green or in a grassy area with a reference point.
Gabriel Writer of PGA Tour Driven walks you through this drill below:
Here’s a tip that I think is important for those who want to chip well: make sure that the grip of the club is always ahead of the clubhead at impact.
If this isn’t the case, it means that you’ve released the club too much before or at impact, and it will most likely prevent you from ever making consistently good contact or seeing a consistent trajectory with your chips.
The easiest way to achieve this is to employ the hinge-and-hold method.
Try some of these drills, be persistent, and hopefully you’ll be able to see some positive results! Be sure to combine this with putting drills to round out your short game.
If you want more than just chipping drills, I have something for you. This will help you hit it “inside the leather” and get up and down around the green just about every time:
Have you tried any of these drills? What have your results been? Let us know in the comment section below.