Which Club Is The Right Club For Chipping???


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm getting ready to go do a little chipping practice. Normally chipping means using my 60 degree or 56 degree wedges. I'm getting pretty good around the greens but I'm still struggling with consistency. At times, I look as silky as Phil Mickelson, one of the best short game players of all time. Then there are times when it appears like it is the first time I am holding a golf club.

In one of his recent posts, Mike Southern shared the video at the end of this post. It is an instructional on how and why chipping with a 7-iron is a better choice for golfers who may be uncomfortable when faced with having to get up and down from just off the green.

Mike said there are three important "technique" things to note:

  • The shaft is in line with your forearms. This makes it much easier to use your putting stroke for this shot. (Side note: If you're having trouble with your putting and you aren't holding your putter so its shaft is in line with your forearms, you now know part of your problem. Check my Basic Principles of Good Putting -- this is #4.)
  • The 7-iron is slightly up on its toe. There are other ways to chip with an iron, but this one creates less resistance as the head slips through the rough. You'll need to try a few practice strokes before you try this on the course though; the loft of the club is now at an angle, so you may have to grip the club so the face is slightly open.
  • Of course, you need to make sure that you hit slightly down on the ball.

I think what I'll do today is compare the outcome of hitting my 6o degree wedge through my 7-iron from the same spot to see which one gives me the most consistency. I'll let you know how it goes in a follow-up post. If you have any stories of what club you use to chip with, feel free to leave a comment. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Comments (6)

  1. June 8, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    I picked up a Cleveland Niblick (a 42 degree club that is about 35" long) last year because chipping and pitching have always been a weak part of my game. I have tried a 7 iron and I have tried several wedges but nothing has been as consistent as this club. I will use it for a few games and then switch back to carrying another wedge. I put it in the bag about a month ago and I had two chips that stopped within 6" of the hole, so I've kept it in my bag.

  2. June 8, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Hey Lefty. I have never tried out the Cleveland Niblick but I can see where the advantages to using such a club would come into play. I love my hybrid and it has become like my security blanket. I can see how the Niblick can be seen as the same around the greens. I'll take 6 inches from the cup all day.

    I'll have to check it out. I practiced with the 7-iron today and I have to say it was more consistent than my other clubs. I'm going to do some more experimenting tomorrow then write a post about my results. Thanks for stopping by lefty.

  3. June 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Ask the Doc about my nine iron off the green. I haven't tried the 7, but whenever I feel like I can use the 9, I do. You've seen my chipping and know I need an alternative.

  4. June 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Looks like you're getting some good comments from players using different clubs for chipping. In case any of your readers are confused, let me clear up the mystery:

    They're all correct.

    Lefty's Niblick works for the same reason as the 7-iron. (In fact, 42° is probably pretty close to 7- or 8-iron loft.) Many people find that a hybrid or fairway wood -- or even a driver -- works well.

    The reason is that the face is taller and you don't have to be so precise hitting the ball in order to get forward motion. More people stub wedges than "longer" clubs; the 7-iron just happens to be a good compromise between the two. You need to be closer to the green to use the "longer" clubs because the ball doesn't fly as far as it rolls. Wedges don't roll as far as they fly, and that's what makes them more finicky to hit.

    Jess has something extra going for her. Everybody has a club in their bag that I call a "50% club" -- when they chip with it, it flies half the way and rolls the rest. For most people, that club is either an 8-iron, 9-iron, or pitching wedge. It works well because it's pretty easy to figure out the halfway point of your chip -- that eliminates a lot of the guesswork, so your chips become more consistent -- and you just "throw" the ball to there. And since it flies about halfway, you can use it even if you're farther away from the green. If you don't have enough green to use the 50% club, you probably need to use a wedge and hit a fast-stopping pitch shot.

    So you see, all of these are good choices, Dex. The key is simply to find the one that you feel most comfortable with and are most consistent with. That one club won't work all the time, but if it works 80% of the time you'll be way ahead of the game.

  5. June 9, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    @Bryce-I've noticed that you are more of a "bump-and-run" guy rather than a "flopper". This was the shot I was telling you about when we were at The Foothills the other day. I've been working on it the past couple of days. I think it might shave a few strokes off the score.

    Do me a favor. When you have your next lesson with Brian, ask him which is the best club to use when near or just off the green. I would be interested to see what he says.

  6. June 9, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    @Mike-Jessica is actually a guy in this situation. LOL! It's my friend "Bryce" who has made a few guest appearances in a my posts. I guess he signed in under his wife's profile through blogger to leave his comment. She has a very cool family style blog.

    I hear you when you say it's a matter of what is most comfortable. I varied my clubs today in practice and some were definitely more consistent than others.

    I'm scheduled for a round tomorrow so I want to wait and see how I do during actual play and under pressure before I write a post. I think I know which club I like best already, and it probably won't be surprising.

    It's cool to have options though. I've heard of pros practicing the same shot with different clubs so that they can adapt on the fly. I also heard one instructor say that golfers should practice hitting every club in their bag from 100 yards out. Doing this gives you a feel for what each club can do and it also builds confidence.