Every golfer wants to know how to hit a chip shot.
And just about every golfer struggles with chipping. It’s a dilemma I’ve been asked to help with time and time again in my thirty years as a golf instructor. Not to mention, my video on the three biggest chipping mistakes is my most popular video of all time.
So rest assured, if you’re eager to learn how to hit a chip shot, I see you. And I’ve got some advice you probably haven’t tried already.
If you're struggling with how to hit a chip shot, this is the guide you've been looking for. Because here's the truth: chipping isn't as complicated as you might think.
I’m going to explain the one key secret to a successful chip shot. (That’s right—just one!) I’ll also clue you in on a new tool that’s going to help you nail this skill immediately, as well as a drill that’s so quick and easy you can even use it in a round of golf.
By the time we’re done, you’ll be savvy to the biggest chipping secret there is:
It’s way easier to improve your chipping than you’ve been led to believe.
Let’s get to it.
Check Your Arms
The movement of your arms in the backswing determines where the clubhead will ultimately hit the ground.
One more time, because this is the principle at the heart of everything you’re about to learn:
The movement of your arms in the backswing determines where the clubhead will hit the ground.
Now, if you can’t seem to stop shanking your chip shots, this right here is the key to fixing the problem.
So many bad chip shots happen when golfers rotate their lead forearm over their trail arm on the takeaway. This causes the club to go inside and—as a result—hit behind the ball when you swing through.
Now, it isn’t always easy to tell if you’re making this mistake. You’re not staring at your forearms as you make your swing, and sometimes the rotation is a little too small to feel.
That’s where the Vertical Line Swing Stacker comes in. My team and I developed this training aid to help with a variety of skills related to swing motion, including this common chipping fault.
The short version: the Stacker consists of two armbands, each featuring either a large blue square or a large red square. You place the red Stacker on your lead forearm and the blue Stacker on your trail forearm.
When you’re ready to take your swing, press the Stackers together. (A Velcro square keeps them connected through your swing.) Then, as you swing back, notice what the colors do.
If the blue stays on top, you’re doing great. You’re keeping the club in front of your body, and you should have no trouble bringing it down where it should be at contact.
If you notice the red start to rotate towards the top on the takeaway, that’s a sure sign that you’re rotating your forearms and you’re about to shank it.
Now, you’ll see almost-instant improvement when you use the Stacker to practice how to hit chip shots. But I’ve got a great drill that will also help you master chipping, no Stacker needed.
First, I want to give you a quick bonus tip if you’re practicing with the Stacker.
Bonus Tip for How to Hit a Chip Shot
This one is super simple.
You want the blue Stacker to be underneath on the finish.
Why does that matter?
If you catch yourself rotating the blue towards the top, it means you’re rotating your trail arm as you swing through. This is going to close the clubface… and it’s going to mean trouble for your chip shots.
I wanted to note this bonus tip, because you actually want a little of that rotation in your driver shots. Golfers who know that and already have a habit of rotating with their driver often carry that habit into their chip shots.
Just something to be aware of. Now for that drill I promised…
A Drill for How to Hit a Chip Shot
As I mentioned, you don’t need the Vertical Line Swing Stacker for this one. (You also don’t need to take it off if you’ve already got it on. The Stacker won’t get in the way of this drill.)
The steps are simple:
- Take a few practice swings with your trail arm only.
Yeah. That’s it.
How does this help?
Well, it tends to be the lead arm that creates the rotation problem. When you take that arm out of the swing and let the trail arm run the show, you find it’s easier to make that motion without the rotation. This trains your body to recognize what a good chipping motion feels like.
I recommend doing three practice swings with your trail arm only then stepping up and taking a chip shot with that motion fresh in your body.
It may seem like a small thing, but so many of the great golf fixes are. In all these years of coaching, I’ve learned that simplicity wins the day every time.
Now you know the “blueprint” for how to hit a chip shot. Get out there, give it a shot, and let us know if it worked for you!
If you want to learn more about the Vertical Line Swing Stacker, you can check it out right here.