Chipping or Pitching?

The phrases chipping and pitching are used interchangeably by golfers, TV commentators and golf magazines. So it is no wonder that people are confused about the difference!

Both chipping and pitching are short shots played around the green – for most players within 20 to 30 yards of the hole. The distinguishing factor between the shots is their trajectories. The chip shot is low and running, whereas the pitch shot is high. Considering the different goals of the shots, it makes sense that there is no middle ground between the two. You should either be chipping, or pitching.

This column will review the chipping technique. The next tip will review pitching.

The Chip Shot

A chip shot can be played with any club. If you use a lofted club, like a pitching wedge, the ball will run less than if you use a 7-iron. Sometimes preference is the determining factor for club selection, and sometimes the green characteristics.

When chipping, you should be hitting down into the back of the ball. To achieve this, place the ball closer to the back foot at the set-up. Move your weight onto the front foot and lean the shaft forward by pushing your hands slightly towards the target. Once you have taken the set-up correctly, keep the legs still and swing the club with the arms and shoulders (no wrists). Because of the nature of your set-up position the clubhead should swing up and down in a relatively straight line and therefore hit the ball on the downswing.

The chip shot should be one of the most reliable shots in your game. Here is a short review:


featured sue shapcottSue Shapcott, PGA of GB&I is the Director of Instruction at Change Golf Instruction. Change Golf Instruction partners with Pine Ridge Golf Course in Paris, TX and provides accessible golf instruction to help players learn and improve their golf. For more information visit