1) The lie of the land
The standard rule when chipping is that if there are no confounding variables such as slopes, bunker or mounds to come over, you should play a lower shot and get the ball running as soon as possible. But even if there is nothing to carry short of the green, slopes on the green can have a bearing, especially with regard to your landing spot.
For example, would a higher-flighted chip risk catching a downslope and shooting forward, or an upslope that stops it stone-dead? We will work through the various options here, looking at basic chipping technique and how you can use different clubs and lofts to get the desired result.
But it’s vital that you get the chip and run keys right by assessing the terrain between you and the flag before choosing a club, and then visualising the shot clearly so there is no doubt in your mind when you pull the trigger. It’s as much about strategy as technique.
2) Chip and run technique explained
The basic low chip and run requires something like a 9-iron, looking to land your ball on a flat part of the green. The ball should be middle to back in your stance so that the angle of attack is steeper, the loft is less and it rolls more on landing.
Feet and hips should be slightly open, and weight should be about 65 per cent on the front foot, putting your hands and sternum slightly ahead of the ball, From here, retain the triangle created between arms and shoulders and simply rock them back and through without breaking the wrists.
Master this and you’ll not only get a consistent strike, but also know how the ball is likely to react and spin on landing.
3) When to add loft
Sometimes you will need a higher chip, perhaps if need to carry a downslope that risks shooting the lower chip forward on landing. Switch to a wedge – perhaps your 56˚ – but be aware that this is a bit more high-tariff and harder to execute than the simple chip and run.
The good news is that, this aside, you can use exactly the same set-up and technique but just put a little more power into the shot. Ideally, the ball will carry the downslope, stop a little bit quicker but still have enough energy to get all the way to the hole.
4) Maximum height required
The most high-tariff option uses the highest-lofted wedge in your bag and should only be employed when absolutely necessary – perhaps when you have shortsided yourself and there is virtually no green to work with.
Again, set-up remains constant, although you may need to vary ball position according to how high you need to hit it. You should factor in very little roll as the idea is to carry it pretty much all the way and get it to stop quickly, which will again require a little added power in the strike.