How To Spin Your Chip Shots

These simple tips will help you understand how to spin your chip shots and get the ball closer to the hole from around the greens...

How To Spin Your Chip Shots: Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach John Howells demonstrating how to spin your chip shots...
Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach John Howells demonstrating how to spin your chip shots...
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Having a great short game is often the result of listening to the best tips, practicing regularly and utilising that sensational spin that the best wedges and golf balls on the market create.

Understanding how to spin the golf ball can be tricky, so we decided to share some top tips to add a little sparkle to your shots around the greens...

1. Use The Bounce

A common misconception is that you push your hands forward at address, creating shaft lean and presenting the club to the ball as a digging, rather than gliding, tool. That’s more likely to get the ball skipping and skidding and struggling to spin. 

The pros now tend to use a wider, shallower swing that creates a shallower angle of attack to get the bounce working so the club glides through the grass. At impact, the shaft position should be fairly vertical, not leaning forward. This is how to spin the golf ball and get it close. 

How To Spin Your Chip Shots: correct and incorrect technique

2. Set-Up Is Key

The correct set-up will simplify the whole swing. Have your weight distribution on the inside of the left foot, your sternum over the middle of the ball and your feet narrower than for a full swing. You can see the perfect ball position is fairly central in the stance. 

Feel a relatively soft hand and arm action, which combines with the body pivoting back and through around the balance point. There will be a smooth release of the club as the body continues to turn to face the target. Impact will be more of a sliding movement, allowing the lower grooves on the clubface to come into play.

3. Keep Your Grooves Clean

To generate spin, the bottom grooves of your wedge need to grab the underside of the ball, which is why setting up with the hands forward and the shaft leaning doesn’t work.

From there you will come down steeply, with the ball making contact more towards the middle grooves. If you come in shallower from a more neutral set-up, the lower grooves will grab the underside of the ball and create more friction. Friction creates more spin because the ball holds onto the face for longer.

golf wedge face with dirt on it

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The grooves will grab the ball through impact, creating the spin you need for control when you chip. However, if there is any dirt or water in those grooves, you'll fail to benefit from any friction through impact - even with the best wedges. It takes two seconds to clean your grooves and it can really help you around the green while also prolonging the life of your club.

The 'Showstopper' – How Do I Play The 'Cut' Chip Shot In Golf?

Everybody wants to hit this shot but first we need to understand what increases friction. For maximum friction, we need a good-quality ball, dry conditions, clean grooves and no debris.

If we reduce friction by adding moisture or dirt to the face, the same cut-spin shot won’t spin, so we need minimal grass interference between club and ball and, more importantly, really solid contact. When teaching this, I’ll get players to hit from three different lies to build confidence - first off a tee, then a mat then, the hardest one, off grass. 

Three different lies to practice chipping around the greens

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

You’re looking to play this shot with an out-to-in path as you want to cut across it. To help with this, stand a bit closer to the ball at address with your feet slightly open, get the toe of the club down, set more weight on your left side and pick the club up steeply before then cutting across the ball.

To help you generate plenty of spin, you should use a high-lofted club – anything with too little loft will make it impossible to create a lot of spin from this range.

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach John Howells demonstrating technique for a cut chip shot

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Playing this shot off the turf will be much harder but it’s very satisfying when you get it right. It’s a bit like a table-tennis shot – we’re looking for that nippy contact. As you’re swinging the club out to in, the ball will exit very left of the target with that open face.

We’re trying to pinch ball and turf at the same time rather than striking ground or ball first. With nice, dry conditions, you should get a flight that starts a bit lower than normal before spinning to the right on landing.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X