If you struggle with your chipping then help is genuinely at hand here courtesy of the new Ping ChipR - a cross between a wedge and a putter that will give your chipping confidence an enormous boost.
An absolute guaranteed stroke saver
So easy to use
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Ping ChipR Wedge Review
After 25-plus years of the chipping yips it’s fair to say that this part of the game is of interest to me. I tell people, it doesn’t even have to be golfers, that my problems have been on and off but, in truth, they’ve always been there. They’re part of my very being, I will pass them off as a badge of honour to cause some amusement, but they generally haunt me.
I waste large, valuable chunks of any time with a professional golfer by quizzing them about their thoughts on chipping or, more specifically, my chipping. I’ve spent more time around the periphery of countless chipping greens around the UK than on the actual course and, in one desperate spell, I lost more balls from bunkers than I did in general play.
It began in the mid 90s, particular highlights include missing the ball altogether on the 11th hole at Wimbledon Park, with the divot somehow sheltering the ball. There had been other warning signs; a two-over 68 a couple of years before in my absolute pomp included a double-hit off some hard pan which very nearly finished behind me. In 2007 I broke new ground on a press trip in Tuscany by making contact with the ball on three separate occasions and subsequently losing the ball in some shrubbery behind me.
I’ve experimented with every manner of grip possible, seen therapists and bored the majority of the European Tour with my problems. I define my friends by their inability to move a golf ball from one point to another 10 yards away which provides far too much comfort than it ought to.
Watch Mark Townsend hit a number of different short-game shots with ease using the new Ping ChipR
All of which is why the new Ping ChipR arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago. 'Bump Up Your Confidence' is the catchline which barely touches the sides in terms of what I’m hoping to get out of this club.
The Ping ChipR paints itself as a ‘fully engineered chipping solution (tell me more) that combines elements of a putter and a wedge to help golfers improve performance around the greens’. This is a key element; see this as much more of an extension of your putter rather than any sort of chipping club. My first few sets of balls were all played with more of a chipping stroke which resulted in a lack of loft, due to me de-lofting it, but also no fats or thins or anything slightly jolting.
It has the loft (38.5˚) of a 9-iron but is something like 5.5 degrees more upright than the 9 so the shaft sits more vertically. If you can imagine when you try to employ your putting stroke with a 9-iron, the toe of the club would be right on the ground and you can only make the strike from that part of the club. Hence why it’s very easy to get it stuck in the ground and feel that little kicking feeling.
The standard lie of the ChipR is 70˚ (there are 10 colour codes), a standard putter is around 72˚, so this certainly plays towards using your putting stroke. Once I started employing this method there was more loft and a hugely satisfying strike like you typically get with the best wedges for chipping. If you remember the Ping Chipo, which was launched in the mid 70s and continued to sell into the 2000s, then this is a refresh of that but with modern-day differences.
The weight (325g) is more like that of a putter or lob wedge and this is probably the single-most noticeable aspect of the club. The other really noticeable part is the check that you can achieve courtesy of the MicroMax grooves which have a tighter spacing than usual. There is more of a chip-and-run trajectory but it has plenty of grab. Balls don’t get away from you which I have definitely found in previous Chippers which are great at getting the ball airborne but much harder to control.
Other huge benefits are how it performs with greenside rough. Here there is a very noticeable amount of loft as the camber and weight of the club works perfectly through the turf. I hit a lot of chips from the fringe with the ChipR as this is one aspect that really terrifies me. If I can't hit a 6-iron or a 64˚ wedge then my options are very limited but the ChipR was outstanding at getting the ball moving forwards and very consistently.
I tested this at Moortown and the head pro, Martin Heggie, was so intrigued that he came to hit a few and stayed for half an hour, with the club barely leaving his hands. He played most of his shots with a cack-handed grip and the consistency, and the flexibility that he got out of the club, was very impressive.
Also, it worked brilliantly for that very awkward 40-yard chip where many of us have no real idea on how to play the shot with our lob wedges. So, when it's a bit ridiculous to get the putter out and there's nothing to go over then this should be a very reliable option.
The final point is just, very simply, how good looking this club is. The hydropearl chrome finish has the appearance of a regular club in the bag so, if you don't want anything too clunky looking in the bag, then this is another huge tick in the box. On first inspection you almost wouldn't even know that it was a club that was made for chipping.
This is a fantastic piece of kit and I would encourage anyone to make the investment. At £160 it is on the pricey side but then again it's beautifully made and, unlike your putter which you might go off, it will never lose favour.
Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.
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