My Golf Instructor

Club Selection When Chipping
How to Choose Your Weapon

Use all 14

Learn how to decide which club to use for greenside chips. Choosing a Chipping Club

If you've seen the golf comedy Tin Cup you know all too well that the entire game can be played with a 7 iron. Realistically, the entire game could be played with any one club if you think about it. Certain shots however, like bunker shots, would be nearly impossible to hit with a low lofted club like a driver, yet still possible. obviously the only club we putt with from the green is a putter, but outside of that you have many choices. Tee shots are hit with a vast variety of clubs from fairway woods to driving irons, to hybrids. Bunker shots are usually hit with a sand wedge, but lob wedge and pitching wedge are also good choices depending on the condition of the sand. Flop shots and pitch shots are usually executed with a lofted wedge. It's really when we chip that we have the largest variety of weapons to choose from. When hitting a greenside chip you can essentially and successfully use any club in your bag. That's right; all 14 clubs.

While your putter is typically only used when you are on the fringe and the grass is tightly mown, every other club can be used from a few feet off of the green if you are not in the rough. While he certainly wasn't the first professional or amateur to use one, Tiger Woods made using a 5 wood and 3 wood from the collar famous when he pulled it off at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Keep in mind with a green side chip your goal is to only loft the ball a little bit; just enough to get it on the green so it can roll up to the flag. In most of the situations you will find yourself in a driver or fairway wood provides that little bit of loft you need and has the added benefit of a rounded sole to prevent you from digging too much and hitting the shot fat. That is only one option though. There is the 5 iron, the 7 iron, the pitching wedge and your hybrids.

Choose the Right Weapon

How do you know then which of your 14 clubs to use? Like I said before, only use the putter when the fringe is tightly mown and there is smooth and consistent grass between you and the stick. I'm sure you've heard the old adage of "putt it when you can" over and over again and that couldn't be more true. But what happens when you can't putt? What happens when you are in a little bit of rough or long grass? What happens when there is too much fringe to carry and it's just too bumpy? That's when the art of expert calculating must kick in. The first and foremost important step is to decide on your landing spot. This is the spot where you want the ball to land before it takes a hop and then rolls to the hole. Once you've figured that out it's just a matter of deciding which club would then roll the desired distance to the hole. Unfortunately for you there is no way to know how far each club rolls without a lot of practice and experimenting.

Chart it Out

My favorite way to practice is to lay a stick on the green about 8 feet from the fringe. My goal is to take every club in my bag and hit it with my chipping stroke so that the ball lands just over the stick. I then walk off and chart how far the ball rolled after it landed. Every green is different and grasses vary from course to course. Even greens on the same course can be different from day to day based on weather conditions and what the superintendent decided to do that particular day. This is where experience and practice really comes into play. The drill is simply useful to chart it out so you have a general idea of how each of your club reacts. It is not meant to supersede intuition and experience.

The Situation:

You are trying to figure which is the best club in your bag to use on a greenside chip shot.

The Situation:

To figure out how far each of your clubs roll lay a landing target on the green. I use a swing plane stick or a golf club and putt it about 8 feet onto the green. Practice landing all of your clubs just over the stick. Pace off and chart how far each club rolls after it hits the green. This will show you the amount of roll that each club will give you and will help you to choose the right club for the distance at hand.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
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