Chipping 101

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

More Information

A chip shot is always executed with the leading edge of the golf club. When chipping you need to understand that this motion is simply a smaller version of the golf swing. The only modifications are a narrower stance and your weight distributed to your front foot. The weight will stay on the front foot through the entire shot. There is no transfer onto the back leg with this shot. You can chose to chip with a club as low as a 6 Iron all the way up to a 60 degree wedge. The set up dictates the motion of the club. The club itself dictates the air to roll ratio. When you set up to a chip shot with the proper position it makes the overall motion much easier. Here is where most all golfers have gone off the deep end on this particular shot. 1) The ball is too far back 2) Weight too far forward  3) Shaft leaning too far forward  4) The stance aiming way left (right handed golfer). The tendency from that set up is now you have to make a compensation in the overall motion. Once this motion takes place you will hit one of two shots. 1) You’ll either hit the ball thin and blade it across the green. 2) You’ll hit behind the ball and catch it heavy. With the poor set up it is just about impossible to find the bottom of the arc in a consistent matter. Before hitting a chip shot, or any shot for that matter, be absolutely certain what you wish to do with the ball. Determine where you want the ball to land and what you expect the ball to do.

Set Up Thoughts:
Slightly weaker grip optional; grip normal on the shaft light grip pressure, around 3 or so on a scale if 1-10; square stance parallel to your starting direction (not open); place heels about club and a half width apart both toes open 10-15 degrees; ball position of front armpit; weight on forward foot 65/35; shoulders level; no weight shift onto the back leg during the swing; club shaft  is leaning slightly forward; wrists will have a little hinge in them; hands will not travel far from the body; sensation of pivot back/pivot through

Importance of Good Chipping
One of the key reasons chipping becomes such an important shot during a round of golf is because the average amateur hits approximately 3-6 greens a round, which breaks down to approximately 25% of greens in regulation (GIR); conversely, your top 10 Tour players are hitting 71% of (GIR). With that thought in mind, it’s not hard to see why this shot is vital to your scoring arsenal.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine TOP 100 Teacher since 1997. Teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, along with being The Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah from June through September. To get more information on lessons, visit Scott’s web site at To contact Scott personally you can e-mail him at