Short Chipping Tips: How To Choose The Right Club

PGA professional Katie Dawkins shares some chipping tips that will help golfers choose the right club more often

Short Chipping Tips: How To Choose The Right Club

Many amateur golfers can over-complicate the game, especially when it comes to chipping around the greens. While it may look cool to hit the shots executed on television by touring professionals, these are often not the percentage play and a lot of the time are high-tariff shots that can be avoided. PGA Professional Katie Dawkins shares her wisdom around the greens and offers some chipping tips that will help you decide what club to use around the greens and hopefully have you getting up-and-down more often.

Unless you're playing a championship course set up the chances are, you will not need to carry our high, floating green-side shots that stop on a dime. These are shots that can cost many golfers numerous shots due to how hard they are to pull-off, particularity under pressure. There will often be a much less challenging shot available, it's just understanding what to look out for and what club to use.

Short chipping tips: Playing it safe

Approach these shots as you would if you were challenged to throw a ball close to the hole. If there is nothing in the way how would we get it there? Most would opt for the route that stays low, keeping the ball closer to the ground, as this approach is far safer than one which involves lobbing it up and down from height. Judging how a ball is going to roll across the green is far easier than trying to throw a ball the whole way to the pin and judge the spin needed to have it come to rest close to the hole.

Short Chipping Tips: How To Choose The Right Club

When faced with a shot like this, it makes far more sense to choose a shot that keeps the ball low to the ground

There's no denying some of us are seduced by what we see the likes of Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth are pulling off when green side, but these are literally some of the best in the world at executing those shots and are often needed due to the challenges of slope and green speed on the courses they are playing in professional golf. Club golfers should never forget the main objective - getting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Attempting to play the flashy shot means taking a longer swing and therefore a bigger risk. Pull it off and it looks brilliant; get it wrong and catch the ball near the equator and you could end up in far more trouble than you started.

Alternatively, chipping with a positive putting action will, more often than not, leave your ball somewhere close to the hole with a realistic chance to make the up-and-down. Yes, this often requires choosing different clubs depending on the hazards in front of you, but using one of the best wedges on the market will certainly improve you chances of getting your strike and spin control correct more often than not.

Short chipping tips: Visualise the shot

Have a really good look at where you are. If there is a bunker in the way, yes, you will need that loft. In extreme cases, you may even be forced to hit a flop shot in order for the ball to pop up and stop quickly on landing.

But if there is no trouble in front of you, then there is no need to go for that more lofted weapon. Arm yourself with a 7- or 8-iron and opt for the chip-and-run shot instead. For those who play on softer ground, looking at some of the best high-bounce wedges will help your club glide through the turf easier and execute the shots you look to play around the greens.

Short chipping tips

In this scenario, a little more loft is probably required but you don't need to take on the Hollywood shot

Routine can also play a great part in getting the shot selection right. When you get to your ball pause for a moment and visualize yourself throwing the ball close to the hole. Once you have that image in your head select the club that will best recreate what you had imagined. You can even do this before you get to your ball. Yes, using some of the best wedges for chipping will make getting up-and-down easier when you're green side, but understanding when to hit the right shot is far more important to seeing success.

Let’s get a bit more instinctive when it comes to shot selection. Your scores will thank you for it.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.