Chip or Pitch? When to Use Each Shot

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This week’s PGA Tour event will be played at TPC Louisiana where last year’s winner, Seung-Yul Noh, claimed his 1st PGA Tour victory. TPC Louisiana was named the 4th best upscale public golf course by Golf Digest magazine when it debuted in 2004. Pete Dye designed the course, working in conjunction with PGA TOUR players Steve Elkington (don’t miss our contest we’re running with Steve) and Kelly Gibson. The breathtaking scenery at TPC Louisiana’s golf course, stretches over 250 acres of wetlands along the Mississippi River Delta representing a grand natural and local habitat.

Many golfers struggle with which club to use around the green depending on the distance, lie, pin position, and what might be in front of them leading up to the green. In almost every case, you’ll have to either chip or pitch the ball. In order to feel confident with each shot type, you’ll need to practice at the driving range before attempting on the golf course. Once you master each shot, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your scores will drop!

Chipping

A chip shot can be used when there are not any obstacles between you and the flag, with enough room for the ball to roll out. Depending on the distance, you can use a variety of clubs to pull off the shot.

  • Select a pitching wedge, 9-iron, 8-iron, 7-iron, etc.
  • Place the ball towards the back of your stance
  • Keep your hands in front of the ball
  • Majority of weight on your forward foot
  • Keep your wrists firm throughout the shot

When you pull off this shot successfully, the golf ball will come out relatively low and roll toward your intended target.

Pitching

A pitch shot can be used when you have an obstacle to carry, have a short distance to the pin, the ball is in longer grass, or you need to simply get the ball up quickly and land softly with very little roll.

  • Select a sand wedge, gap wedge, or lob wedge
  • Place the ball in the middle of your stance, or slightly towards your front foot
  • Distribute your weight pretty evenly on both feet, or maybe a touch more toward your back foot.
  • Let your wrists react naturally, (just like in a regular full-swing)

You know you’ve hit this shot properly when the golf ball comes out relatively high, lands softly, and has little roll. To get the golf ball up in the air even quicker, open up the face of the golf club.

Quick Recap

Chip Shot – Place the golf ball toward the back of your stance, weight on your front foot while keeping your wrists firm throughout the swing. This shot can be attempted when you have room for the ball to roll out, do not have any obstacles in front of you, and/or have a good distance between you and your intended target.

Pitch Shot – Place the golf ball toward the middle of your stance or slightly toward your back foot. Distribute your weight evenly between your two feet, and allow your wrists to react naturally. This shot can be attempted when you need the ball to come up quickly, have something you need to carry, and/or the ball might be sitting in longer grass.

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Emmett Brantly, PGA

Emmett Brantly has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2003. He graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Golf Management. He has worked in Public, Semi-Private, Private, and Resort golf facilities in Raleigh and Pinehurst North Carolina. He has also worked in various retail settings, as well as holding positions of PGA Teaching Professional at various academies including the Pinehurst Golf Academy. Emmett has a strong passion for growing the game of golf by displaying his extensive knowledge in club-fitting, teaching, fitness, and product knowledge.

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