How to Hit a Chip Shot in Golf

Learning how to chip a golf ball is one of the most valuable skills a golfer can have. Understanding how to hit a chip shot around the green will lower your score and make your buddies jealous when you consistently get the ball up and down to beat them. So what is a chip shot? A basic chip shot travels a short distance in the air and rolls to the pin with more control and consistency than a normal shot. A chip shot is different from a full swing because it is a short, controlled swing with little to no wrist hinge. The feeling you should have is that your arms ride along with your chest while making a little turn back and through. The feeling of your arms and chest staying connected will help with your distance control so you are left with only a short putt.

How to hit a chip shot with the Swing Align Short Game Swing Training Aid

This article will cover the following topics.

Setting Up for a Chip Shot

The set up for a chip shot is very simple with your feet close together, shoulders near level and the ball positioned in the center of your stance. Your stance should be slightly open to your target line. 

How to set up a chip shot with the Swing Align Short Game Training Aid

    1. Keep your feet close together. This makes it easy to turn your body which is important in chipping!  
    2. Make sure your weight is slightly forward. Put your front shoulder directly over your front foot. This will help you to strike the ball solidly with a slightly descending blow.  
    3. Keep your right arm straight (for right hand golfers). This will set the correct distance to the ball and proper posture with your spine straight and shoulders level.  
    4. Your arms and shoulders form a solid triangle. Using the Swing Align Short Game device will help you get the feeling of a proper set up.
    5. Slightly open stance. This will help keep your body rotating to a proper finish. If you need help rotating through the ball, push your right knee forward to start your downswing.

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Common Chip Shot Mistakes

What is the proper chipping technique? Above all the key is keeping your arms and hands stable and making a controlled stroke using your chest and shoulders. Here are several common mistakes to avoid as you learn how to chip a golf ball.

Trying To Help The Ball Up

Don’t try to help the ball in the air!  Keep your shoulders level, set your spine straight up and down and do not tilt or tip back.  Tilting back pushes your hips and hands too far forward which causes your club to bottom out before the ball.  This results in hitting the ball fat and coming up short of the pin, or in the worst case the dreaded chunk shot where the ball only moves a couple feet. Trust the loft of your clubs to do the work for you.

Ball Position Too Far Forward

Putting the ball too far forward makes it nearly impossible to hit solid chip shots with a controlled and slightly descending stroke. Take the time to make sure the ball is no farther forward than the middle of your stance, and that your club shaft and left arm are in a nearly straight line. If the ball is too far forward you are more likely to hit the ball thin, resulting in a shot that goes past the pin, or in the worst case the dreaded skull shot across and over the green.

Don’t Hit, Swing

To hit a proper chip shot, don’t try to hit the ball!  Swing the club back with your chest and shoulders by turning slightly to the inside. Trying to hit the ball will cause you to get too handsy and flip at the ball. A chip shot has very little wrist action. If you do hinge your right wrist slightly on the way back, keep that slight hinge as you swing through impact. No flipping! Don’t let your left wrist break down.

Failing to Rotate

A common mistake that golfers make in their golf chip shots is failing to rotate their lower body. The tendency when hitting golf chip shots is to swing with the arms only, and neglect to make what should be a miniature golf swing with some body turn. Failing to rotate causes poor contact and bad distance control.

Chip shot from top down with Swing Align swing training aid

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Chip Shot Practice Drill

A great golf short-game practice drill is to rehearse your short game swing while concentrating on rotating your lower body. This drill can be done at the range while chipping, or at home without a golf ball!

    • Put the Swing Align device on your lower body just above the knees. 
    • Take the short rod sections from the Swing Junction and place one on either side of your feet and angle them about 30 degrees from your target line. 
    • As you chip or rehearse your swing match the angle of the alignment rod attached to your legs to the short rods on the ground as you turn your chest and lower body slightly back and through.
  • Stop and hold your follow through position and check your rotation against the rod on the ground by your front foot. 

When doing this drill most golfers will need the larger Swing Align XL cuffs golf swing training device to fit on their lower body. The Swing Align Pro Bundle comes with both Standard and XL cuffs for both upper body and lower body drills.

Chipping versus Pitching

This article is specifically about how to chip a golf ball, but the recommendations apply to pitching the golf ball as well. A pitch shot flies farther than it rolls and stops more quickly. Pitch shots use a longer swing where the right arm starts to fold and there is a greater hinge in your wrists. This produces a longer swing with more speed. Use body rotation to pull the club through the ball but just like a chip shot, don’t flip your wrists!

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Improve Your Short Game with Swing Align!

How do you fix your golf chip shots? How do you stop hitting fat and thin chip shots? Easy, with a Swing Align or Swing Align Short Game trainer!

Use the Swing Align golf training aid on your legs just above the knees and you’ll know instantly if your lower body is properly rotating or not. The amount of rotation in chipping and pitching is often less than a full swing, but rotation is still key to well executed golf short game shots.

Use the Swing Align Short Game trainer to create a proper set-up, and a controlled and connected short game swing.  The short game rod will create and maintain the proper spacing between your arms insuring they stay connected and move at the same speed through your chip shots for improved distance control.

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The Swing Align Golf Instruction Blog is a great resource for a variety of golf swing tips and golf drills to help you improve your game. You’ll find lessons on how to hit a draw, how to eliminate a golf slice, golf chipping tips and more! Any golfer will find these golf swing lessons useful, even if you don’t own a Swing Align golf training aid. But if you do own a Swing Align, you’ll learn how to use it to improve key fundamentals including alignment, posture, rotation, swing plane and connection. The red button at the top of the page will take you to the Swing Align YouTube channel where you’ll find even more golf swing instruction.