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Answer Which club is best for chip shots

For most golfers, theres only one place where we never have to pick between clubs – the putting green. Everywhere else, from tee to fringe, requires at least some consideration of different sticks.

Club selection can be especially tricky around the greens. But it doesnt have to be. For starters, you can basically eliminate any long irons you may carry (2-iron through 5-iron). Naturally, the driver is out. While you might occasionally putt from off the green or use a hybrid club to chip, most short shots are best played with a wedge or short iron.

How do you know when to play which club? Follow this basic guide for chips from good lies in fairway grass or light rough—and remember, this is a guideline, not a hard-and-fast set of rules:

  • Short chip (30 feet or less to the cup) from just off the green: Gap, sand or lob wedge
  • Short chip from several yards off the green: Gap, sand or lob wedge
  • Medium-length chip (30 – 45 feet) from just off the green: Pitching wedge, gap wedge or 9-iron
  • Medium-length chip from several yards off the green: Pitching or gap wedge
  • Long chip (45 – 60 feet) from just off the green: 6-, 7- or 8-iron
  • Long chip from several yards off the green: 8-iron, 9-iron or pitching wedge

Choosing just the right club requires gauging your lie as well as the greens slope (toward or away from you), speed (fast, medium or slow) and texture (firm, medium or soft). If you need extra height to control the speed, use the higher lofted club. If you want to get the ball on the green and rolling as quickly as possible, less loft is best.

Some golfers simplify the process by using only one or two clubs for chipping – one for short shots, one for long chips. For instance, a gap wedge and an 8-iron. This requires a good bit of practice and play to hone your creativity and versatility with each club, but you may find it worthwhile.

Of course, there is one more option: A club specially designed for chipping, like Thomas Golfs custom hybrid chippers. Many players find these take the guesswork out of the task, though there are some shots a chipper isnt well-suited for.

Hopefully, we havent made chipping club selection sound too complicated. It really isnt. Once you get a feel for variables such as lie, green speed and slope, itll become second nature.

The golfer with a solid chipping game has an ace up his sleeve. Just when you think hes bound for bogey, he knocks it within tap-in range and escapes with an easy par. These tips will help you become that guy or gal:

Chipping Tip: Hands Lead the Clubhead

Best Chipping Drills

How to Correct Inconsistent Chips

Ladies: Try Putting Stroke for Improved Chipping

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It takes a true wizard to play lengthy chips with a sand or lob wedge. These clubs tend to hit the ball too high with lots of backspin, so you must learn to hit them low with running action. Not easy. For any chip longer than 40 feet or so, youll struggle to reach the cup with a lofted wedge – especially if the green is uphill and/or rolling slowly.

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An 8-iron is a good choice on longer shots where you want the ball to release and roll; its not so good on chips requiring height with very little run. To get enough air under the ball, youll have to open the clubface and adjust your ball position. Easier just to use a wedge instead.

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Sure, you could choose a club at random and use it for every chip. But youll handicap yourself on many attempts. Pick a 7-iron, for instance, and youll have a hard time controlling delicate shots. A sand wedge, on the other hand, wont give you the roll needed on cross-country chips.