It’s been said a million times, but it’s worth repeating - you drive for show, but you putt & chip for dough! Improving your short game is the key to lowering your scores, but how often do you work on your chipping?
Did you know that 65% of the shots you hit on the golf course are from 100 yards or less? Many amateur golfers focus on hitting their driver, but don’t pay attention to their chipping. We can help. We have pulled together the 12 best golf chipping tips and best chipping drills. The next time you head to the short game area at your course, give these a try.
Aren’t you ready to start shooting lower scores? Start beating your golf buddies? These golf chipping tips can help make it happen.
12 Best Golf Chipping Tips & Drills
1. The Hula Hoop Chipping Drill
How do you define a good chip shot? The goal is to hit it close enough to 1 putt and get up-and-down. A great way to practice is to put a hula hoop around the hole (or you can make a circle out of tees or coins). If you can get the ball to stop inside the circle, it’s a good shot.
This chipping drill provides instant feedback on the quality of your shots. Try different types of shots (bump-n-runs, flop shots, etc). Which one is more consistently finishing inside the “hula hoop”? This golf chipping tip will also help you learn the best time to hit different types of chip shots.
2. Chip-a-Coin Chipping Drill
We don’t always have time to make it out to the course. This is a chipping drill you can perform in your house - maybe when you have 15 minutes between conference calls. You don’t even need a golf ball. Simply place some coins on the floor and trip to chip them up in the air - it might help for you to use a target. Can you chip the coins into a coffee mug?
How does this chipping drill help your short game? It teaches you to clip the ball off the ground and allows you to learn muscle memory from the comfort of your living room.
3. Putt Your Chip
This one is more of a golf chipping tip than a drill. High handicappers often overcomplicate chipping - keep it simple. If you struggle to consistently hit quality chips, think of it as putting with a different club.
Grab your wedge, but don’t think of it as a chip - instead, use your putting stroke with the wedge. You’ll be amazed how the ball naturally goes in the air and rolls towards the hole. Some players even use their putting grip when they chip. This is a great way to improve your consistency.
4. Turn The Putting Green Into A Par 2 Course
Do you struggle to focus during practice? Here’s a golf chipping drill that will help you “grind” while in the short game area of your course. From various spots off the green, hit chips and try to make the putt. In other words, every hole is a Par 2. Keep your score for 9 holes - how many over were you? Now do it again and try to improve your score. This chipping drill has the advantage of also working on your putting.
Do you enjoy a little friendly competition? Invite a friend and have a Par-2 chipping battle. Maybe the loser buys the refreshments in the 19th hole. You’ll get more out of your chipping practice if you find a way to force yourself to focus. Take each chip seriously.
5. Chip It In The Hole
When playing a round of golf how often do you chip in? Pretty rare, right? Maybe you should practice it. As Happy Gilmore says, “golf is so much easier when you don’t have to putt”. For this chipping drill we recommend you have 5-10 balls. Find a fairly straightforward chip shot and hit it over and over until you make it. This might take 5 shots or 15, but keep trying until it drops. Now, pick a different chip shot and do the same thing.
No one chips in all the time, but every shot has a chance. Get used to seeing the ball disappear. Gain confidence that you can make chip shots.
6. Be A Little Hard On Yourself
If you’re an avid golfer you know that your ball can end up in some weird locations on the course. Under a bush. Buried in the lip of the bunker. Down in tall grass. Your goal should be to never encounter a shot on the course that you haven’t practiced.
The point of this golf chipping drill is to challenge yourself. Force yourself to be creative. Spend a few minutes practicing crazy-hard chips shots. Work on escaping from “fried eggs” in the bunker. Practice chipping from the deep rough. Try different techniques for these difficult shots to see what works the best for you. It’ll give you a point of reference when you encounter a tough shot during a round.
7. Stick The Landing
Golf instructors will tell you that you should identify where you want to land your chip before hitting the shot, but this is only half of the battle. You might pick the perfect landing spot, but if you can’t execute, it doesn’t matter.
For this golf chipping drill you need 5 balls and 5 golf tees. Place the tees on the practice green at varying distances from you. Now practice trying to land your chip next to each tee. How often do you land the ball on target? Hitting your landing spot is critical to becoming a better chipper.
8. Use Every Club In Your Bag
Being a great chipper of the golf ball requires creativity. You don’t always have to use your wedge to hit a chip shot. For this golf chipping drill, you will need almost every club in your bag.
Try the same chip with several different clubs (Wedge, 7-iron, 5-iron, hybrid, 3-wood, putter). When using hybrid or 3-wood, simply use your putting stroke. You might be surprised which club is the most consistent for the shot. Work your way around the practice green trying different chips with all of these clubs - you may just learn a new way to get the ball on the putting surface.
9. Extend The Shaft
A common mistake while chipping is overactive wrists - similar to your putting stroke, you want to use your larger muscles (shoulders) and not your smaller muscles (wrists). One way to practice chipping with a firm wrist is to “extend your shaft” with an alignment stick.
To perform this golf chipping drill, grip the club normally, but slide an alignment stick next to your arm so that it extends past the end of the club. Now hit various chip shots - the alignment stick should rest against your arm throughout. This will give you the feeling of keeping a firm wrist. Now remove the alignment stick and make the same motion.
10. Draw A Line In The Sand
We haven’t talked about sand traps yet, but they’re the part of chipping that gives the amateur golfer the hardest time. Here’s a simple golf chipping drill that will help you hit consistent shots out of greenside bunkers.
Find a practice green with a bunker and put down 5 balls. Draw a line in the sand about an inch behind the ball. Open the face of your wedge and try to hit the line you drew. If you hit a good bunker shot, you don’t actually hit the ball - your club zips just under the ball and it flies up and onto the green. If you feel your club hit the ball, you didn’t hit enough sand.
11. Eyes Wide Shut
Yes - this does sound a little crazy. If you can’t chip with your eyes open, why try it with them shut? Some golfers develop a fear of impact - in other words, you might flinch when your club gets near the ball. This flinch can cause you to blade it, flub it, or chilly-dip it. Why do golfers have so many colorful terms for bad chip shots?
For this golf chipping drill, take some practice swings with your eyes open, address the ball, and just before you start to take the club back for the chip, close your eyes. You can’t flinch at impact if you can’t see impact. This will help you make a smooth chipping motion. Once you hit 5 chips with your eyes closed, try a few with them open.
12. Put In The Time
This is more of a golf chipping tip than a drill. It’s quite simple - if you want to get better at chipping you will need to spend time working on it. It won’t magically happen. We would recommend you spend at least half of your practice time every week on your short game.
Short game is the key to lower scores. The biggest difference between a 5-handicap and a 20-handicap is not 300 yard drives. It’s the ability to score around the greens.
Golf Chipping Tips Can Help Your Game
Do you have a favorite golf chipping tip or drill that we didn’t list? Have you tried these 12 before? You don’t need to perform all 12, but determine which ones resonate for you. Which ones do you enjoy performing? You spend more time practicing if you enjoy the process, so find your 3-4 favorites from the above list and focus on those.
More chip-ins, more one-putts, more sand saves, and more up-n-downs! All things that every golfer would enjoy! Good luck and play well!