When to Pitch and Chip
Your ball has landed five yards from the green on a par-5.
Congratulations, you are pin high in two shots.
A nice pitch or chip here that leaves it close to the pin will set you up for a good chance at birdie.
Great, but do you chip it or pitch it?
Let’s keep it simple: think of a pitch as a shot that flies more than it rolls, and a chip as rolling more than it is in the air.
In general, a pitch is a lofted shot that will fly at least halfway to two thirds of the distance to the hole, hit the ground and release.
Chips will hop onto the green around three feet from the fringe and roll the rest of the way.
With a chip, the clubhead will stay low to the ground in order to send the ball rolling fast.
There is no wrist hinge, and swing is short. A pitch has some wrist hinge, and comes in a little steeper in order to loft the ball in the air.
Check the Lie
The first thing to look at is the lie.
Is there a cushion under your ball that you can slide the club through, or is it sitting on hardpan or scrubby ground?
Do you play in an area of the country where Kikuya grass surrounds the green?
This type of grass is known to grab the club hard. Is the ball sitting in the fairway just short of the green, or in deeper rough?
Next, check to see if there are any obstacles in your way that you need to contend with.
For example, do you have to hit over a bunker?
If so, is the bunker deep with a high lip on the front, or is it shallow and thin?
Do you have to pop the ball over a creek, small pond or puddle?
Is there a cart path or dirt trail meandering between your ball and the green?
The last time you went to the driving range, how much time did you spend working on your short game?
Don’t feel bad, hitting big drives at the range is fun, and you only have so much time to practice anyway.
But the truth is a good short game relies on feel and touch.
Those are qualities you can only develop by putting in the time.
So be realistic about what your current short game skills are and the potential of pulling off the shot you are considering.
Check out the Chipping and Pitching Class at the College of Golf
Chip it Close
With the lie, potential obstacles and your skill level in mind, here are some general guidelines on whether to pitch or chip.
A rolling ball is easier to judge than a ball flying in the air.
For that reason, opt chip whenever you can before going to a more lofted shot.
With a chip shot, pick out a spot three feet from the fringe.
Determine what club will allow you to hit that spot and roll the ball the remainder of the distance to the hole using the same force.
In that regard, longer distance chips will require you to use less lofted irons to ensure it gets to the hole.
Loft it High
If you have to hit over an object, dig the ball out of deep grass, or are trying to hit over a problematic portion of the green, opt for a pitch shot.
Using one of your lofted wedges, place the ball between your heels and take an open stance.
Put your weight on your leading foot, and level your shoulders out
The ball should be just below your left eye.
Move the clubhead back as you would for a chip, hinging your wrist to bring the club upward.
This will provide the extra speed you need to get the ball in the air quickly.
Good pitch and chip shots rely on more than technical skill.
They require a creative mind that can handle a variety of circumstances.
Use these tips to roll it up close.
Looking to learn even more about golf?
Consider a Florida golf school where you can play nearly year round, such as Keiser University’s College of Golf.
Give us a call today at (888) 355-4465. Or contact us online.