The Chip Shot: What It Is and How to Play It

Ariya Jutanugarn chips up to the 7th green at the 2016 LPGA Reignwood Classic
LPGA Tour golfer Ariya Jutanugarn plays a chip shot from just off the putting green. Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

A "chip shot" in golf is a shot played from close to the green, usually within a few yards of the putting surface, that results in the ball popping briefly into the air, then hitting the ground and rolling forward toward the hole. The point is to get the ball up and over some intervening condition - such as a little bit of rough or fringe - that prevents you from just putting.

Chip shots are typically played with the ball back in the golfer's stance and using a wedge - although a golfer can chip with any club, and many golfers hit chip shots using 7- or 8-irons.

Note on usage for beginning golfers: Many golfers shorten "chip shot" to simply "chip." As in, "I'm going to play a chip" or "you'll probably need to chip that one." The skill of hitting chip shots is known as "chipping," as in, "spend some time practicing your chipping next time you're at the practice facility."

Chip shots are a part of golf known as "the short game."

What's the Difference Between Chips Shots and Pitch Shots?

Chip shots and pitch shots are both shots that pop the ball into the air near the green. But they are two distinct shots. Think of a chip shot as a shot in which the ball will be airborne only a short time and distance, with the ball rolling on the ground for most of the distance it travels. On a pitch shot, on the other hand, the ball gets much higher in the air, travels most of its distance to its target in the air, and rolls on the ground much less than a chip shot.

So chips are on the ground more than they are in the air; pitches are in the air more than they are on the ground. Pitch shots are also typically played from farther off the green than chip shots, sometimes (depending on the golfer's abilities), from 100 yards out or more. Chip shots are played much closer-in to the green, many times from the fringe or from rough just a few feet off the green. When possible, it's a good idea to favor chipping over pitching.

Playing Chip Shots

What is the technique for playing chip shots? You might want to learn the 6-8-10 method for chipping as well as fundamentals that will help you avoid hitting it fat or thin. Shortening your backswing and accelerating through the shot will give you better results when chipping.