*This has been fairly popular. I finally have some free time to properly update it with more readable language and better formatting. A special thank you goes to drivnchaos for his help with the wording.*
I know many of you have trouble figuring exactly how the chip and pitch shots work. Since all clubs have different distances, when using the chip or pitch shot, this will be a general guide. If you use this as a guideline, and practice a bit, you should be able to improve your short game.
During the first section of this guide we'll be using the standard clubs, standard green speed and standard ball. Later on the different green speeds and balls will be covered. Due to green speed changes, at the end of this guide, I will update with the details on how to adjust it.
If you do not read the last paragraph if this guide, then you might as well close the window now!
I'll start with the chip shot:
The chip shot gives about 25% air travel, the rest is time spent rolling on the green. Chip shot is most important when a person in on a fringe and has a putt with major break and/or elevation change. It allows you to carry few yards in the air, bypass all the nasty elevation/break and then land on green and roll in the roll. This means an accurate read of the green is needed when using this. Since the air time is so short, the distance from the green is also a big factor. If you are more than 2yds off the green, do not use the chip shot. The pitch shot is the better option.
Most often the chip is played using a wedge, but can be played with any iron. Remember that the ball spends alot of time on the green when chipping so the right/left break must be read accurately. It is probably best not to go any higher than a 9 or 8 iron for this reason. ie:
You're trying to chip a 35yd shot. Your ball will land about 9 yrds away, and roll another 26 yds. That's a 78 ft roll where the break of the green will influence your shot.
The distance of each club is the distance when playing from the fairway, to a level target. If You are standing on the fairway, the hole is 17yds away, and the elevation is 0, your shot should go about 17yds. Since this is usually not the given lie, here are a few things to factor into your shot.
- 1) What is your lie in the rough and how far away is the green. Remember if you are more than 2yds from the green, don't use the chip.
- 2)What is the elevation difference.
- 3)What is the break of the green where your shot will first hit the green. The break may be slight near the hole, but remember that the ball rolls for 75% of the shot. Try dragging the aim arrow to where you think the ball will touchdown, and check the break there also.
- 4)Always practice using 1 type of chip. I always use backspin, very rarely using topspin or no spin, so all distances givin are using backspin.
With these things in mind, here are a couple of examples. For these I'll be using a 17yd chip shot
A) You have a 13yd chip from 40/50 rough and the hole is 1ft below you. Your ball is on the edge of the rough, so there should be no problem using the chip shot. Now since you're in the 40/50 rough, more power is needed, but the hole is downhill so there is more run involved. That's the tricky part.
In general the 40/50 rough requires 40% more power to get the distance you want.That means in order to go 13yds, A shot with 19yds of power is needed. Remember this is with 0 elevation change.
The hole being 1ft lower than the ball means that a full 17yd chip shot from the fairway, would run to about 20yds. This is where practice is needed.
Knowing that the ball will go 20yds due to the downslope, and knowing more power is needed to release the ball from the rough, you need to find the midpoint of the 2 shots. From experience I've found that hitting with 15yds of power, and full backspin, I can drop it within 3ft 8 out of 10 times. Remember that this is a shot with no left/right break.
B) This one you're on the fairway chipping to an uphill green with a break to the right. A good example of this is Bethpage hole #11.
You're about 19yds short and the hole is 2ft uphill. The green breaks hard left to right. Remember that hitting uphill will require more power, but since you're on the fairway, not alot more. Also, the break will add distance to the shot. 1yd per foot uphill, and since I'm aiming about 1yd to the left, I'll add an extra yd. Thats 3yds extra power, aiming to the left about a yard. Usually this gets me up close to the hole. The best thing here is practice.
The thing to think about with chipping is this. It is a recovery shot. You have missed the green with your first, second, or third shot, and now you just want to save par. Getting it close to the hole, for an easy putt, is the important part. Course management and effective use of the chip, will save you at least 1-2 shots per round. As you will be consistently getting close to the hole, the chips will start to fall in.
Now I'll move on to the pitch shot.
The pitch shot gives about 50% air travel before hitting the green. This means less time rolling, and less influence from the break.
The pitch shot works well when you're to far away to chip. This is most often on Bethpage where the rough stops the ball quickly. The use of the pitch shot is essential on Bethpage.
Here are a few rules to follow for the pitch shot:
- 1) From the fairway subtract 4 to 5 yards
- 2) From 30/40 rough add 0 yard
- 3) From 40/50 rough add 2 yards
- 4) from 10/20 sand subtract 1 yards
The same rules apply to pitching as they do on chipping when an uphill/downhill approach is encountered. Also take into account the right/left break of the green. As I said earlier, the break has less influence because the ball is not spending as much time on the green.
The pitch shot is very useful when you are short of the green on Bethpage #10. When I am in the rough or sand 22-28 yds out, I just follow the above rules, and I am within 5ft 90% of the time. There are some greens that have a large incline between the rough/sand and the hole. #5 and #6 on Bethpage are good examples of this. This is where being 2yds off your power can mean being stuck in the rough or being 10-12ft past the hole. The best advice I can give you is to keep notes on the trouble spots. That way when you are there again, and you will be lol, you can adust your shots for a better result.
As a final note on chipping and pitching. These 2 shots are probably the most consistent parts of this game. Being able to use them properly will easily shave 2-3 strokes off your game on Bethpage.
Just a few words on the punch option. I like to call this an advanced option
This shot works well on Bethpage to get yourself out a tough situation. The rough on that course is deep in most spots, and the punch shot can really save your round. I find that when punch is used, from the rough, the distance of the club travel is closer than that of a full shot. This also works when you are facing a headwind, from the fairway. A good example of this is Bethpage #1. A 188yd punch shot into a 9 headwind will go about 185yds. A 185yd full shot will only go about 177yds.
The punch has a few more fairway uses on Kiawah though. I regularly use it on holes #13, #15, and #16 for 2 reasons.
The first is those holes usually play a short by 3-4yds, and any kind of wind, along with deviations can cause havoc.
I once hit a perfect 128yd club with a 5 tailwind only to land at 115yds on Kiawah #16. By hitting the punch shot ther I can be sure it will get there.
The punch shot does take more practice, and a gentle touch, so I will not go into much more detail. You will have to try it out, first by getting yourself out of trouble, then by experimenting with it in different situations. There are some shots where punch will easily save you par where ANY other shots will result in a bogey or worse!
The flop shot:
This has changed the most of all 3 shots. The key as always is to know the speed and slope of the green. For example, If you're in the bunker on Bethpage # 4, you have about 18yds to the hole. My flop is 15yds, but if I hit it full power, with full backspin, I will always land within 3ft of the hole. This is because it lands on a downhill slope. Flop is hard to aim, generaly rule is about 6-8 ft left of the hole but because flop is 75% air 25% run, wind highly influences it.
On the same #4 BP if you are left of the flag with about 25 yards left from the fairway, 4 types of wind on a fast grene will result in 4 different aim options and 4 different power settings. With 10mph tail wind, hitting as 21yards of power is enough, with 10 head wind, hitting with 24 yards of power is good. With 10mph right wind, aiming 2-3ft closer to the flag will do the trick. Since winds are rarely straight tail or head, practice will be required to adjust properly aim and power of the shot accordinly
Flop will probably be the lesser of the 3 shots you will hole out, but in some situations, because of it's flying tragectory, it will be the difference between par and bogey while utilizing any other shots.
Now the clubs :
You need to practice with them to understand the carry and roll. With the basic set you could count on a certain distance in the air and on the ground. The chip was always 25% air 75% roll, and the pitch was always 50% air 50%roll. The new clubs all seem to have their own distances so trial and error is the way there. Some clubs have the 50/50 split while others have a 75/25 split. Practice, again, will be the best thing.
The thing to remember is since the green speeds have increased, your short game must become more percise. Where 3ft long before was good, now it has become 10ft. I still recommend taking notes as to how each hole plays from each distance. Your notes, in combination with these tips, will have you rattling the flagsticks !
Lastly, there are VERY FEW places, where in my opinion any of the 3 shots can be used interchangibly (excluding punch). General rule is, always use same shot from same spot (that is, if you gotten close before). By far THE MOST IMPORTANT point of this guide, is to keep notes. If you do not keep notes about what you hit from what spot, how hard, and how far it was aimed as well as the result of the shot executed, then you will simply forget the shot you executed and will be frazzled the next time you get there.
With the introduction of new clubs, balls , and green speeds, I thought the guide needed updating to reflect the lastest changes. The basics in the guide are still the same, there are just a few adjustments that need to be made.
I'll address the new balls first.
What is important here is extra distance and extra spin. Overall I think they make little difference on the chip/pitch/flop shots, but when combined with the new clubs and green speeds there is a noticeable change. Practice is the tip here. You just need to learn the new distances while applying the basic tips in the sections above.
The biggest difference, for chipping and pitching, are the green speeds. Adding in the slope and break of the green can mean the difference of being close before, and being 10ft past now.
The chip shot:
The same principle applies here. Know the lie percentage, the elevation change, and the right/left break of the green. The key here is the greens are faster, therefore the run will be further.
Lets look at that 13yd chip shot mentioned above. In the 40/50 rough a 40% power increase is needed. With a standard green speed this means 19yds is needed to go 13yds, on a flat surface. Now with a fast green speed, a power reduction is needed. I'd say reduce the power by 1yd on a fast green, and more on a very fast green.
The pitch shot:
The same principle applies again, but there is something to be added in. You must know where you are in relation to the hole. The best example of this is Kiawah #2. If you are 20yds long it will show the hole being 1ft up, but in reality once you are on the green, the hole is downhill 1ft. This type of misread will ruin your round. With this shot being from the fairway at 20 yds, with a flat surface you would want to hit about a 16yd pitch shot. Now when you factor in the green speed with a 1ft downhill green you're looking at a 14yd shot.
Another example would be the 40/50 rough pitch shot. Before it would have been a 27yd shot, now with faster greens and a downhill slope, you have a 25yd shot or less.
Lastly, there are VERY FEW places, where in my opinion any of the 3 shots can be used interchangibly (excluding punch). General rule is, always use same shot from same spot (that is, if you gotten close before).
By far THE MOST IMPORTANT point of this guide, is to keep notes. If you do not keep notes about what you hit from what spot, how hard, and how far it was aimed as well as the result of the shot executed, then you will simply forget the shot you executed and will be frazzled the next time you get there.