Every golfer knows that chipping is one of the most influential skills when it comes to scoring, but it can also be nerve-wracking when choosing the best option for a successful outcome.
One of the latest controversies in the golf instruction world is whether to chip with the ‘leading edge’ or the ‘bounce’ of the club. The internet has been riddled with articles and videos by professionals who swear that one is better than the other.
In my opinion, I believe that both techniques are helpful, and golfers should learn both ways to chip.
I find that the leading edge chipping style is helpful when you want to keep the ball low and rolling. And I also find that this method is one of the easiest golf shots to execute.
In my experience, beginners and intermediate players find this shot quite easy to learn, and therefore cut several strokes off their scores in a short time.
The bounce chipping style makes high lofted chip shots much simpler, especially in questionable lies. This method is slightly more complex than the leading edge style, so has a bit more of a learning curve in successful consistent execution.
But let’s face it, hitting high chip shots is more difficult anyway. And if there is a way to make this shot easier, we have to explore it!
So I instruct my students to first determine what type of lie they have, and to discern how much green they are working with, and therefore how much roll-out they would like to have on the chip shot.
If you are in a relatively good lie, and have room on the green to roll, I would suggest the classic leading-edge chip.
You can use anything from a sandwedge to seven-iron (and anything in between), depending on how far you want it to roll.
The higher the loft, the less roll.
Set up with your weight more on your leading foot, hands pressed slightly ahead, and the ball placed slightly back in your stance. This exposes the leading edge of the club face.
The stroke is a simple pendulum like movement, without using very much wrists. The ball should pop up slightly, then run out the rest of the way toward the hole.
If you have less green to work with, and are looking to loft the ball high and softly onto the green, you should set up a bit differently.
Place the ball more forward in your stance toward your lead foot. Don’t press your hands forward, instead bring your shaft lean back to a more neutral position. This exposes the bounce of your club.
During the stroke, think of the bounce sliding under the golf ball, causing it to be lofted high and soft onto the green.
More wrists will be used in this option, making it the slightly more complicated choice.
I would go so far as to say that there is not one best way to chip.
I like to think of your golf game as a tool box. You want to use the right tool for the job, and if you choose the wrong one, the job may not be done as effectively as you would like.
Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She is the 2016 LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy. She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com