Are you new to golf? Do you understand the nuances between chipping and pitching? It’s challenging to learn one aspect of the game, never mind an arsenal of shots. However, to be a good player, you need a well-rounded repertoire of shots at your disposal. Without a decent toolbox of shots, you’ll find you have limitations when playing games, diminishing your player experience.
It’s no good heading to the driving range every weekend to spend time with the big dog driver. You’ll be great at driving and long irons, but your short game will be terrible. You need experience in all areas of the game, and chipping and pitching are two aspects of golf every seasoned player needs to practice more often.
What’s the difference between chipping and pitching?
- 1 What’s the difference between chipping and pitching?
- 2 What Is the Pitch Shot?
- 3 What Is the Chip Shot?
- 4 What Is the Pitch and Roll Technique?
- 5 What Is a Pitch and Putt Course?
- 6 In Closing – What Is the Rule of 12 when Chipping?
The pitch shot usually occurs farther from the green than a chip shot. Pitching involves half and quarter swings for approaches under 50 yards. The chip shot typically occurs closer to the green. Its stroke resembles more of a putting movement than a swing.
Both shots have their place in a golfer’s toolbox. However, both shots are challenging to understand and master and among the toughest shots in the game to do well.
That’s a very general overview of the differences between the two. A lot more goes into defining a pitch and a chip. Let’s unpack the differences.
What Is the Pitch Shot?
You’ll use the pitch shot when you’re close enough to the green to use your wedge. You’ll need to ensure that you can reach the green on the carry before selecting the shot. For example, if you usually get a 100-yard with a 56-degree sand wedge, a pitch shot needs a half swing to make a 50-yard shot.
Attempting to figure out your pitching yardage is one of the more advanced parts of the game and something you can worry about later when you get the shot down properly in practice. The pitch relies on you interpreting the feedback through the shaft to know if it’s a good shot.
The only way to dial it in is through practice and repetition. The preferred pitching method is to think of the swing as the pendulum on a grandfather clock. A full swing with the clubhead pointing directly overhead would be a 12 o’clock position, and at the hips, it’s at the 9 o’clock position.
It takes a lot of practice to feel the right point in your backswing. Most pitch shots occur within 100-yards of the green. However, you may find you need it in other situations, like getting from the rough back to the green after a drive doesn’t work out as expected.
What Club Do You Need for a Pitch Shot?
The pitching wedge is the longest wedge in the bag. Typically, a pitching wedge has a 47 to 48-degree loft in the face. The idea with a pitch shot is to get less carry in the shot while maintaining loft in the shot and a soft sit on the green after contact.
When Do You Need a Pitch Shot?
You need a pitch shot when you find yourself a distance from the green that calls for less than a full swing. Typically, this distance is around 100-yards from the green or less. However, the length varies between players depending on their personal performance and their equipment.
The pitch shot is useful when the player has to get out of a water hazard or bunker, and they are a short distance from the green. The pitch shot keeps the ball in the air for as long as possible. As a result, it’s easier for players to navigate hazards between them and the target.
You’ll also need a clear line between you and the target to pull off a successful pitch shot. Players attempting a pitch shot out of an area with trees may encounter challenges getting around low branches.
The “flop shot” allows you to get a very high elevation on the ball with your pitch shot. This shot involves opening the face of the wedge, creating additional loft to take the ball higher and institute a soft landing.
What Is the Chip Shot?
The pitch shot isn’t the only useful swing golfers can utilize on the course. The chip shot is similar to the pitch shot in it’s often used at a short distance from the green. Players will use their wedge to perform the shot.
The difference with the chip shot starts with how you take the club back. You can use the chip shot at different distances and with different wedges in the bag. The swing for the shot is fairly consistent, and you’ll use a similar stroke to putting when executing a chip shot near the green.
The shot varies from a standard pitch shot to any number of points on the imaginary clock we used in the previous example for pitching. Most chips require a backswing to the seven o’clock position to be effective around the green.
The benefit of using the chip shot instead of putting the ball around the green is to carry the ball for the portion of the green in front of the player. A chips shot can remove the contour of the green out of play, preventing you from putting through difficult sections.
The chip shot allows you to create a backspin, resulting in the ball checking up after contacting the green. As a result, you get better control over the proximity to the hole by using spin rather than relying on the green’s contours to deliver while putting.
Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and candy when it comes to chip shots. They have some downsides too. Chip shots don’t travel well. They don’t get off of the ground as high as pitch shots, and they aren’t useful for clearing bunkers or water hazards.
Chip shot may also end up giving you problems with controlling your distance, especially if you have issues with biting on your chips. You may also find that the chip check is different depending on the type of golf ball you’re using.
What Club Do You Use for Chipping?
Players can select from various wedges in the bag when making a chip shot. Like pitch shots, chips require using a lower-lofted club to hit a long shot. For example, when the player misses their green short, and the pin is toward the rear section of the green.
You’ll find it easier to ship using the gap wedge than taking a larger swing with the lob or sand wedge. In rare situations, you can chip using an iron. You’ll use the iron when performing the “bump-and-run” shot around the green.
This shot involves the same movement as described earlier. However, you’re using an iron instead of a sand wedge for the shot. The result is a low shot with more carry rolling out further than a standard chip shot using a wedge.
The bump-and-run is useful in a similar way to the previous example of using your lower-lofted wedges to get more carry and travel on a large green complex.
Do You Need to Choke Up On the Grip when Chipping?
Like most shots in your short game, chipping is a very feel-orientated technique. To get good at chipping, you have to get comfortable with understanding the face-angle, grip, and swing to accommodate various shots that are useful around the cup when chipping.
While there is no official guideline telling you to cinch your grip further down the shaft when chipping, many players find it helps. You’ll find you get more control when contacting the ball.
This technique and result are important on bump-and-run shots, where the irons have a longer shaft length than the wedges.
When Do You Need to Chip?
You’ll need chipping techniques for around the green. A chip is closer to a putt than a pitch, but that’s not always the case. Chipping requires more room than pitching, allowing the ball to roll more than a pitch shot.
The ball contacts the green with a lower angle, providing more roll. Using the chip shot is a player preference, but most use it when they are around the green and want to remove the effort of getting around the contour.
It’s a useful tool for players when they feel they need to lower their score and feel comfortable hitting a low shot with a bite on it.
What Is the Pitch and Roll Technique?
The pitch-and-roll technique is similar to the bump-and-run in chipping. You’re looking to make the ball roil after contacting the green. It’s a common technique when the player wants to hit a flop shot onto the green with a slope between the hole and the ball.
Typically, pitch-and-roll shots are suitable when the ball is pitched into a downslope, with the green running away from the player towards the cup.
With these shots, it’s important to give the ball enough space to take on the slope and keep rolling until it stops close to the hole.
What Is a Pitch and Putt Course?
The pitch-and-putt course is a smaller version of a driving range. It focuses on providing players with the terrain and conditions they need to practice chipping, pitching, and putting. These courses might also appear as an add-on at some driving ranges.
So, you get the best of both worlds. You can warm up the shoulders on the driving range and then head to the pitch-and-putt to work on your short game. There’s no need to wait till you visit the full course to practice your short game skills.
At a pitch-and-putt course, there’s no need for you to use the long irons in the bag; it’s all about improving your short game. The course usually consists of par three’s since it only requires the player to use the short clubs in the bag.
When you visit a pitch-and-putt course, you’re at one of two types of courses; the executive or the Par 3. The Par 3 course will feature only par 3’s, while the executive course might have a par 2 or 4 on a few holes at the course. Executive courses are typically below 6,000 yards and many times under 5,500 yards, with no Par 5s.
They offer you a fun way to get in a round of golf. You’ll spend less time on the course, and you’ll get a great environment for practicing your short game. So, instead of heading to the driving range for a practice session, consider visiting the pitch-and-putt instead.
In Closing – What Is the Rule of 12 when Chipping?
The “Rule of 12” in chipping states that you break the chip distance into 12-sections. You’ll use each club with a proportionate relationship between the distance carried and rolled. For example, if you’re dealing with a 12-foot chip, the Rule of 12 states that using a 3-iron for the shot will result in the ball landing three feet in front of the ball position and rolling nine feet.
In contrast, using the pitching wedge would land the ball nine feet from the ball position and roll three feet. The idea behind the Rule of 12 is that as the player moves up and down in terms of club choice, the distance is either one unit shorter or longer than the next club for the shot.
The Rule of 12 requires proportionate use for shorter or longer chip shots. For example, if your chip is 48 feet, the pitching wedge will fly the ball around 36 feet, and it will roll a further 12-feet after landing.
The ratio for every club remains the same, and you can use the mathematical formula to analyze any distance. There are several opinions on this approach to chip shots.
Some golfers and coaches find it useful when analyzing chip shots. However, others claim the shot is somewhat outdated and doesn’t have any application due to other variations used in play when chipping on the golf course.