For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
For most tour pro’s, the club selection of choice for chipping is a 58 degree or higer lofted wedge.
For 95% of the people reading this tip, that should never be your go to club choice for chipping, and here are some reasons why.
First and foremost, you will not have the time to practice enough to get great chipping results from this club. High lofted clubs require more precision in the strike for chipping than lower lofted clubs. Great precision requires lots of practice.
Second, the reason you might not get good chipping results from a high lofted wedge – even if you practiced a fair a mount – is that you won’t compress the ball the same way a pro does with that club. Consistent compression is a requirement for consistent chipping.
Compression, or how much energy is transferred from the clubface to the ball, depends on several factors.
One is striking the ball with the sweet spot of the clubface with a swingpath that delivers a strike that is square to your target. Another is the angle of the clubface at impact.
The huge difference between the pro’s and most amateurs lies in the angle of the clubface at impact.
A clubface that is more lofted than another clubface at impact produces less compression and a higher launch angle. Stock chip shots generally have a relatively low launch angle with enough compression to impart adequate spin and consistent rollout.
Pro’s are known to de-loft their full swing iron shots as much as 8 degrees less than the manufactured loft of the club. They de-loft less on chip shots, but they are still changing the loft of their 58 degree wedge significantly when they chip with it. Pay attention to the pros when you see them chipping. You will see forward shaft lean in their setup and strike. That’s what produces the de-lofted angle in the clubface.
You’ll see the handle of the shaft leaning well forward of the clubhead through impact, and that’s the key to good chipping, as well as to good ball striking in general.
Above left – forward shaft lean at address. At impact, there normally will be more forward shaft lean than at address with a good swing. Above right – rearward shaft lean. Rearward shaft lean is a swing fault.
I rarely see enough forward shaft lean present in the swing of most amateurs, which is why amateurs in general should chip with a flatter – less lofted – club. It provides some margin of error for decent compression, and it requires a bit less precision for a decent strike than a high lofted wedge.
There is no substitute for great technique. But if you don’t have the time to practice like a pro, choose a club with 50 degrees of loft or less for your stock chip shots.
Even if your technique isn’t perfect, you’ll have a better chance of making a decent chip with the flatter club than you will with the more lofted club.
Try it, you’ll like it.
Comments: ttucker @
Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,
Tom Tucker
Tom Tucker and Plum Creek Driving Range