A lot of terms in golf are used interchangeably, and more often than not, incorrectly. This is the case with golf chipping versus golf pitching. Many people will use both terms in place of each other. So, what is the difference between chipping and pitching?
In order to get a grip on chipping and pitching, we need first to understand their definitions.
A chip is a golf shot within 40 yards of the green with very little loft whereas a pitch shot is played with a high-lofted club designed to hit the ball high from within 50 yards of the green.
Missed greens during a game are nothing new; even for experienced players, chipping and pitching come in handy at times like this. Mastering the art of chipping and pitching will save you after a shot misses the green.
It is only fair to note that you may find yourself mixing up the meanings of the two words.
To understand the difference, let’s start with the chip shot. This can generally be played from near the green, which makes the ball pop briefly in the air and then hit the ground and roll forward toward the hole. Chip shots can be achieved with nearly any type of club.
Club selection will depend on the players’ preference. A mid-iron can be used to take the shot, or even a wedge can be used. Before a chip shot is taken, a player must first analyze the situation as chip shots require some sort of creativity.
Chip shots are of different categories, which include the run shot and bump. These are taken to be longer versions of a chipping shot.
Factors to Consider Before Chipping
There two main things considered in this category;
- Condition on the ground
At certain distances, it is easy to predict where the ball will bounce due to the presence of short grass, but this becomes difficult once the distance increases.
When Should You Take a Chip Shot
It is advisable for chipping to be done only when one can easily predict how the ball will bounce. Short grass and absence of obstacles will make it suitable for taking the shot as the outcome of how the ball will respond can easily be determined. A shorter distance from you and the target also makes prediction easier.
Chipping Drills and Tips
Chipping drills fall under different categories depending on how they are taken and for the purpose they serve. They include the following;
Up and Then Down
If you are getting more effective with your basic chipping, but you are still just missing the green, landing in the rough, give this drill a try.
Using your 5 wood or hybrid, gently bump the ball up onto the green. While this sounds like a very simple process, the texture of the rough can change your ball’s direction unpredictably, so practice makes perfect with this one.
Putting your Chip
Move your ball near to your body and hold the base of the grip. Put the ball off your rear foot’s big toe and do a putting stroke using your 7, 8, or 9 iron.
If you want, you can use more lofted clubs, but wedges typically cause it to pop up too much, causing it to come up short.
This drill is great if you are developing your short game from the start again.
This drill is perfect because it makes you go down through the chipping and makes you perfect and become more accurate with the wedge. The best thing about this drill is you can try it in the comfort of your home. You only need to place a few coins on your home carpet then try to make contact with the coins, which then sends the coins in the air.
To try this drill, pick a certain distance, which is usually around 10-30 yards, then try to slam and dunk as many shots as you can directly to into the cup with no touching of the green.
How to Take the Chipping Shot
After putting all the steps discussed earlier into consideration, it’s now time to take the shot. Six main steps help in making the perfect shot:
- Aiming the chip
- Chipping stance
- Chipping swing
- Chipping impact
- The finish
Your grip should be considered before taking the chip shot. Your grip will interfere with the facing angle. For chipping a shot, time is of the essence; hence, there is not much time for the club face to shift; therefore, one should be capable enough to hit this ball in line.
The grip should make the ball roll in the required direction. You should ensure that the club is in your hand lightly and not with too much pressure. Holding the grip with a high pressure may lead to losing a shot.
You need to be careful not to lower the club. This means that the pressure applied to the grip should be sufficient enough to make the shot accurately.
The aim is crucial as you depend on the rolling of the ball to the required line. Crouching behind a particular shot allows you to understand the ground break. The ball should be started on a proper line, and gravity will take its course right to the hole.
You need to ensure your club face is in line with that of the line. This can be achieved by anything near your ball than the hole and make sure the main target is in line with this other target. You should then address the club face to the main target and ensure you are more accurate.
After you have aligned your club face perpendicular to your target, set your feet, which should be parallel to the line of target
Chip stance is different from that of a full swing. For starters, your feet should be close to each other but not touch and not be too close that balance is lost. Ensure that you are comfortable in this stance and avoid at all cost an uncomfortable stance.
When the ball position is off inside your back foot, you will get down the ball to the ground hence making it roll faster.
When ready to swing your club, ensure your wrist is in a stable position. This can be achieved by keeping the back of your wrist simply flat.
Like a pendulum, swing your club with the backswing and forward swinging being equal in length. Rotations of the wrist and club face should remain stable. Unnecessary movements may force the ball to fly right or left. Accelerating through the ball leads to a greater chip shot, unlike decelerating impact.
Distribution of weight and position of the ball are tied to impact. Always make sure that impact is moving down and through the ball since the weight will start forward, and a ball is set back to your stance.
This means you ought to hit this ball first, then the ground second. The impact position keeps this ball lower as it puts an impressive spin on this ball before its very first bounce. This makes the distance be controlled much easier.
The chip finish
This is the final part of chipping. The finishing position should be equal to the distance of the backswing. Clubface can become square with the line of the target as your hands finish low. Your weight distribution should be similar to the first on the front side to ensure it remains that way throughout this swing.
The Pitch Shot
A pitch shot goes much higher than a chip shot. It is designed to go a short distance, normally around 50 yards or less to the green, and are typically very steep in ascent and descent.
When to Hit a Pitch Shot
A pitch shot is mostly chosen where there are obstructions like ponds or when conditions on the ground are not conducive, thus the difficulty in predicting how the ball will behave if it is rolled on the ground.
When the ball is needed to land soft or with lots of backspin, you ought to use a pitch shot. You will also need to take a pitch shot when you do not have much green to work with. A pitch shot does not require a variety of clubs to take the shot. You will need clubs with lots of loft to make a pitch shot; this includes lob wedges.
You can take the shot with any club you prefer as long you ensure it delivers an accurate shot. Note that your club of choice will influence distance, height, and rolling of the ball.
How to Take a Pitch Shot
A pitching shot is achieved by these steps, almost similar to a chip shot. They include the following:
- Grip of pitch
- Aim of the pitch shot
- Correct stance
- Pitch swinging
- Pitch shot finish
The Grip of the Pitch
The grip of a pitch shot uses a grip similar to a full swing, unlike a chip shot.
You should first ensure a club is between the fingers similar to the grip when swinging a hammer. This will make sure that there is a consistency in the full swing with the pitching swing and maintain the ball on the proper line as it flies.
You need to control your grip and don’t make it too tight. Remember to ensure the club remains in your hand.
To get an accurate shot, you need to aim the club perpendicular to a line of the target then align you4 feet lines parallel to this.
To get a much higher shot than the usual, you ought to open the club face then try to open your stance. The more this is done, the higher the ball is likely to go. When doing this shot, you should open your club face and set your feet apart, then swing your club.
When your clubs stays perpendicular to the target line, you are able to make another type of pitch shot called a flop shot.
Stance for Pitch Shots
The stance for the pitch shot is almost the same as that of a full swing. First, your feet should be a shoulders width separation, and the ball mid-stance. If you want to get the ball high in the air, just move the ball forward in the stance. The inverse is true. For you to take a low hit on this ball, move the ball back. By simply moving the ball back in the stance, you will increase spin on your shot.
Moving your weight slightly forward in the stance allows the creation of good downward and impact.
Swing is basically identical to the full swing but different from the chip shot.
You need to allow your wrist to hinge in the backswing to achieve this shot. Be sure the backswing is the same in length as the forward swing. Ensure there is an acceleration in the ball.
To have an accurate impact position, you need to hit the ball first then the ground. By hitting the ball first, you will give the shot more control and better spinning. If you hit the ground before hitting the ball, you will have a skulled pitching shot that has very little control.
The Pitch Shot Finish
The finish will be almost the same in length as a backswing. You should try finishing with the club way up on your shoulders just as full swing and still maintain the clubs in front of you and your weight on the front foot.
To become a good golf player, you need to understand and practice more on your chip and pitch techniques. For you to accomplish this, you need to know the perfect time to take a particular shot. A great shot game will help you after an unsuccessful shot. If you ever come across a short shot, relax and analyze the best shot to hit.
Use the golf chipping vs. pitching drills and techniques listed above, and your game will improve as you practice each technique.