#5 The chip to the flag

Published on   2023-01-23 by Kai

When it comes to golfing sensitivity, the first stroke that comes to mind is the putt. But there is another stroke where sensitivity is of great importance: the chip.

The hole is almost done, the ball is just before the green. Now it's time for a chip to get the white ball as close to the hole as possible.

When chipping, the ball is played straight and relatively flat towards the flag. It is important that the ball rolls after a flat trajectory and landing on the green. How far depends on the choice of club.

Carry to roll ratio

The rule here is: the greater the loft - i.e. the angle of the clubface compared to the vertical - the shorter the roll phase compared to the flight phase, the so-called carry. In the case of a sandwedge, for example, the ratio is 70/30 carry to roll.

The lower the loft, the more roll compared to carry. So if you take a hybrid or a fairway wood, the ball will fly short and roll long, ratio 30/70. Finally, with a standard chip of a 50/50 ratio, you can choose the 9 iron.

All these, of course, are examples, the ratio may be different from them and accordingly require a different club.

The peculiarity

And this is where the special feature of the chip becomes apparent: Which club is used depends on the condition of the terrain. If the path to the green is much further than the path from the edge of the green to the flag, then a club with low loft is chosen, but if the ball is at the edge of the green and the flag is wide, then a club with high loft is chosen.

In addition to this consideration, there is a second one during the game: Of course, in no case here is the distance to the hole used in the swing.
Rather, it is necessary to consider exactly which relation between flight and roll is the right one here, given the choice of club.

The landing point of the ball is then "calculated", aimed at and the force dosed accordingly so that the ball also lands as precisely as possible at this point in order to roll from there in the direction of the hole.

This entire explanation reveals something else: it is immediately clear to every golfer that a "normal" golf swing cannot be used for the chip; the ball would fly either much too far or - with a large loft - much too high and would not be controlled in the way that is recommended for the chip.

In fact, the chip swing is most similar to the putt swing. The principle is that the hips remain stable. There is no rotation as in the full swing. In addition, there are as many different paths to the chip as there are to the full golf swing.

What is important - and this is so self-evident that it really doesn't need to be emphasized: it has to work. And that's why it's up to everyone to find the right way themselves.

Ten professionals - eleven opinions

The problem: "Ask ten golf professionals and you'll get eleven opinions." You can follow one golf instructor who says: the ball must be centered between your relatively closed feet. But a second says that it depends on how the ball is to be played: rather high, then the ball lies more on the left foot, with a deliberately flat trajectory more on the right foot.

And also with the shoulder the opinions divide: Some say: no rotation, the arms should only swing in front of the body. The other faction recommends turning the shoulder with the stroke towards the target.

The same applies to the wrists: one swears by bending them during the backswing, the other says: keep them stiff and straight.

Chips are individual

So many roads lead to Rome, and even I haven't seen two golfers who execute the chip in exactly the same way. So it is a matter of finding the right personal way. I would start with the simple version: Swing as you would for a putt, swing in your shoulders and keep your wrists straight.

However, there is one thing that all teachers agree on: the hands should be slightly in front of the ball at the moment of impact. The rest is certainly a matter of practice. So: let's go to the training on the golf course.

In the following video, professional golfer and tour player Phil Mickelson shows his way of chipping:

Previous article in the series: How to Golf 4: Pitch to the green

Next article in the series: How to Golf 6: The putt - about the happiness of the "plop

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How to Golf