Golf Chippers Explained: Your Secret Weapon Around the Green
Discover the benefits of golf chippers, how they work, and how to use them effectively around the green. Enhance your short game with this secret weapon!
by Jake Tingey & Judd Lyon · Updated: 4/5/23
Jake Tingey, Golf Expert
Jake is a lifelong golfer who loves keeping up with the latest golf news and equipment.
Judd Lyon, Web Developer
Judd is the tech guy behind Front Nine Golf with a huge slice.
What are golf chippers?
Golf chippers are specialized clubs designed for short game shots around the green, combining elements of a putter and a wedge to provide accuracy and control in chipping situations.
Golf chippers are specialized clubs designed to help golfers navigate tricky situations around the green. These clubs combine the best features of putters and wedges, providing an effective tool for improving your short game. Chippers are particularly useful for getting the ball over obstacles near the green, such as rough or bunkers, and onto the putting surface with minimal roll.
How Chippers Can Improve Your Short Game
Incorporating a chipper into your golf bag can significantly enhance your short-game performance. Chippers can save you strokes and lower your scores by providing a more controlled and accurate option for shots around the green. Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from the added versatility and precision of chippers.
The Design and Components of Golf Chippers
Golf chippers typically have a clubhead design that resembles a putter but with a more lofted face, similar to a wedge. This hybrid design allows for a smooth, putting-like stroke while still providing enough loft to lift the ball over obstacles and onto the green. Many chippers also feature a wide sole, which helps prevent the club from digging into the turf and ensures consistent contact with the ball.
Shaft and Grip
The shafts of chippers are generally shorter than those of other clubs, allowing for better control and accuracy. Some chippers come with a double bend or offset shaft to promote proper hand positioning and alignment. The grips on chippers are often similar to those found on putters, providing a familiar feel for golfers when executing chip shots.
Loft and Lie Angles
Chippers have a loft angle that typically ranges between 30 and 40 degrees, providing just the right amount of lift to get the ball airborne while maintaining control. The lie angle of a chipper is designed to promote an upright stance, similar to a putter, encouraging a pendulum-like stroke for consistent contact and trajectory.
How to Use a Golf Chipper
Proper Setup and Alignment
When using a golf chipper, it's important to set up correctly to ensure a successful shot. Stand close to the ball with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. Position the ball in the center of your stance or slightly back, and lean your weight toward your front foot. Align your body parallel to the target line and focus on the point where you want the ball to land.
Swing Mechanics and Technique
To execute a chip shot with a chipper, use a putting-like stroke with minimal wrist action. Keep your arms and shoulders connected as you make a pendulum-like motion, swinging the club back and through. Maintain a steady tempo and accelerate smoothly through impact to ensure consistent contact with the ball.
Common Shot Scenarios and Club Selection
Golf chippers are ideal when you need to lift the ball over obstacles near the green and land it softly with minimal roll. Some common scenarios include:
- Chipping over a bunker or rough
- Navigating tight lies or closely-mown areas
- Playing from just off the green where a putt or wedge shot is not ideal
Common Mistakes and Misconceptions about Golf Chippers
Mistakes Golfers Make When Using Chippers
Some common mistakes golfers make when using chippers include:
- Scooping the ball with excessive wrist action, leading to inconsistent contact
- Positioning the ball too far forward in the stance, causing a thin or topped shot
- Decelerating through impact, resulting in poor contact and distance control
Misconceptions about Chippers and Their Effectiveness
Some misconceptions about golf chippers include:
- Chippers are only for beginners: While chippers can be helpful for beginners, golfers of all skill levels can benefit from their versatility and precision.
- Chippers are not allowed in tournament play: Golf chippers conform to the rules of golf and can be used in tournament play, as long as the golfer does not exceed the 14-club limit.
Tips to Avoid These Mistakes and Correct Misconceptions
- Focus on maintaining a smooth, pendulum-like stroke with minimal wrist action
- Position the ball correctly in your stance and maintain a steady tempo throughout the swing
- Educate yourself on the benefits and limitations of chippers, and practice regularly to improve your short-game skills
Benefits of Using a Golf Chipper
Improved Accuracy Around the Green
Golf chippers are designed to help golfers achieve better accuracy and control around the green. Their design, which combines elements of a putter and a wedge, makes it easier to hit precise shots with consistent trajectory and minimal roll.
Greater Consistency in Chipping
With a golf chipper, you can use a simple pendulum-like stroke, similar to a putting stroke, which promotes more consistent contact with the ball. This results in fewer mishits and a more predictable ball flight, ultimately improving chipping performance.
Lower Scores and Increased Confidence
A golf chipper can help you save strokes and lower your scores by improving your accuracy and consistency around the green. This, in turn, can boost your confidence and make your overall golf experience more enjoyable.
Choosing the Right Golf Chipper for Your Game
Assessing Your Skill Level and Needs
Before choosing a golf chipper, consider your skill level and the types of shots you frequently face around the green. If you struggle with chipping or encounter situations where a putter or wedge is not ideal, a chipper could be a valuable addition to your bag.
Comparing Different Chipper Models and Features
Various golf chippers are available, with different clubhead designs, lofts, and features. Research and compare different models to find one that suits your preferences and playing style. Look for a chipper with the right forgiveness, control, and feel.
Custom Fitting for Optimal Performance
As with any golf club, getting a custom fitting for your golf chipper can improve its performance and help you get the most out of your short game. A professional club fitter can assess your swing, determine the ideal specifications for your chipper, and make any necessary adjustments to optimize its performance.
Care & Maintenance of Golf Chippers
Cleaning the clubhead and grooves
Regularly clean the grooves of your golf chipper with a brush and soapy water to maintain optimal spin and control. Make sure to dry the club thoroughly to prevent rust.
Inspecting the grip and shaft for wear
Check the grip of your golf chipper for wear and replace it as needed for better control. Inspect the shaft for any dents or damage that could affect performance.
Proper storage and transportation
Use headcovers to protect the clubhead during transport, and store your golf chippers in a cool, dry place to prevent damage.
Popular Golf Chipper Brands
Overview of Leading Golf Chipper Manufacturers
Several well-known golf equipment manufacturers produce high-quality golf chippers. Some popular brands include:
- Cleveland Golf
- Ray Cook
- Tour Edge
These companies have a reputation for producing reliable and innovative golf clubs, including chippers designed to help golfers improve their short game.
VIII. Tips for Practicing and Improving with a Golf Chipper
Drills and Practice Routines
Establish a consistent practice routine that includes chipping drills to get the most out of your golf chipper. These drills can help you hone your technique, develop better control, and gain confidence in your short game. Some effective drills include:
- Landing zone drill: Aim for a specific landing area on the green and adjust your swing to control the distance.
- Chipping ladder: Set up targets at increasing distances and practice hitting each target with your chipper.
Tracking Progress and Setting Goals
Measure your progress by tracking key performance indicators, such as up-and-down percentage, average proximity to the hole, and the number of strokes gained around the green. Set realistic goals for improvement and monitor your progress over time.
Adjusting Your Technique as Needed
As you practice with your golf chipper, pay attention to any areas of your technique that may need adjustment. This might include grip, posture, or swing mechanics. Don't be afraid to make changes and experiment to find the most effective technique for your game.
When Not to Use a Golf Chipper
Situations where a wedge is more appropriate
When you need to generate more spin or height on your shot or when playing from thick rough or sand, a wedge may be more suitable than a golf chipper.
Situations where a putter or hybrid might be better
A putter might be more effective when playing from very close to the green and needing a delicate touch. Consider using a hybrid for long bump-and-run shots where you want more roll.
Understanding when a chipper is the best choice
Before choosing a club, assess the lie, distance, and green conditions. Recognize that a golf chipper is most effective for straightforward chip shots with minimal obstacles or elevation changes.
In this article, we've discussed the various aspects of golf chippers and their role in improving your short game. Using a golf chipper can lead to improved accuracy around the green, greater consistency in chipping, and ultimately, lower scores and increased confidence on the course.
If you haven't already, consider adding a golf chipper to your bag to enhance your short game. With proper practice, technique, and the right chipper, you'll be well on your way to becoming a more proficient golfer around the green. Embrace the benefits of using a golf chipper and watch your scores drop as you gain more control over your short game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Discover the answers to frequently asked questions about golf chippers and how they can improve your short game.
Golf chippers are specialized clubs with a loft similar to a 7-iron, designed to provide better control and consistency on short chip shots around the green.
No, golf chippers aren't direct wedge replacements, as each club serves different purposes and provides unique shot options around the green.
Yes, golf chippers are helpful for beginners, offering more control and consistency in the short game than traditional wedges.
Golf chippers work best from closely-mown areas but can be used from the rough if the lie isn't too severe.
To use a golf chipper, set up with a narrow stance, weight forward, and hands ahead of the ball, then make a simple putting-like stroke to chip the ball.
Clean the clubhead and grooves after use, inspect the grip regularly for wear, and store it in a golf bag with the rest of your clubs.