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Club selection for chipping


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I know conventional wisdom is that it's usually more reliable to chip with a less lofted club and roll the ball up to / past the hole rather than using more loft, landing it closer, and having less roll. It makes sense to me that using less loft will result in holing out more since the ball will be on the green for a longer path.

Thinking about this more, I think using less loft might be the wrong strategy for amateurs, especially high-handicap amateurs. If you want to roll the ball up to the hole (let's say with a PW) then you need to make TWO error-prone actions:

1) Determine the appropriate landing spot for your chip (VERY DIFFICULT for those with little golf experience, though maybe easy for pros).

2) Execute the shot.

Let's say you want to use a 60 degree instead. You still need two actions:

1) Determine the appropriate landing spot - easy, it's one yard in front of the hole to one yard past the hole. Just land it at the hole (may change sometimes due to slope around hole).

2) Execute the shot - this could be harder than the PW I admit.

So assuming the amateur can execute the 60 degree shot with some reliability (obviously lie could come into play) then I think it's often the best choice to fly it to the hole rather than trying to roll it up.

So tell me I'm wrong.

 

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With the lower lofted club your only concern is landing the ball just onto the green and letting it roll out.

 

Landing the ball within three feet of the hole with a long isn't going stop it within three feet of the hole unless you have really soft greens or a good backstop.

 

I'm really not concerned about landing spots for most chips unless I'm on severe slopes running across or downhill.

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"So assuming the amateur can execute the 60 degree shot with some reliability (obviously lie could come into play) then I think it's often the best choice to fly it to the hole rather than trying to roll it up.

So tell me I'm wrong."

I think you are wrong, by making the assumption you made. The average amateur cannot make a 60 degree lob shot reliably. Even if they do make good contact their distance is generally way off. Using the easier to hit club like a pitching wedge can be manipulated much easier than a 60 degree loft lob wedge. Any golf teacher, or player, with common sense will preach this.

 

 

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A high handicap golfer just needs to get the ball somewhere on the green with the chip. Much easier with a lower lofted club. Way too many chili dips and skulls with a 60 deg. wedge because a high handicapper doesn’t know how to use this club effectively. If they did they wouldn't be a high handicapper. They’re actually better off using a putter when ever possible. As long as they aren’t hitting over an obstacle, if the grass is less than about an inch they’ll average closer with a putter than any chipping club.

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I think if your short game needs help you can simplify things by using mostly 1 club around the green, and that club has a sweet spot in loft somewhere between 48-56*.

Use the same wedge and the same ball every time, swing through it and don't try to hold up on the shot, and you'll get your feel for it.

One short backswing, one medium, one long.

I used my 56 for the longest, but found I came up short sometimes, so switched to a 52. My bag now goes from 48 to 56 to 59, but they're all totally different, so I'm into the multiple clubs strategy now. But I've missed so many greens in my life that this is the best part of my game...

So the 48 is for longer shots, and I can hit it semi full around 80-90. The 56 is the bunker and trouble club, the workhorse that's much shorter full. And the 59 is for sand that needs height or flops.

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I use my 60 almost exclusively for chipping, if I’m going uphill, I’ll use my 54 and play it the same. I’ve tried using the lower lofts, but I have less feel for them. The higher lofts just feel more intuitive to me.

 

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I can't speak to other golfers, but what you describe is exactly how I strategize my chipping. I have much, MUCH better control by just using my 60 degree wedge, picking a landing spot, and hitting it to that landing spot.

This works for me because I have a good intuitive sense of how hard I need to hit the ball with my 60 degree wedge to get it to that landing spot. And I also have no trouble (relatively speaking) with hitting my 60 solidly. I struggle with distance control when I'm bump and running with an 8 iron. Sometimes I blow the ball past the hole by an embarrassing amount.

I am very much a "touch" player in my short game, though, so I'm sure everyone's mileage will vary.

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My chipping game has really come around now that I have a definite strategy and can practice it. First, for any shot fairly close to the green and not in a deep lie I use a 9 iron and use a putting stroke to keep it low and reduce the spin which has really helped me. The other strategy involved removing my lob wedge and using a 54 sand wedge for all other pitches. This has allowed me to concentrate my practice on a standard kind of pitch shot using some wrist cock on the backswing and concentrating on flowing through the ball without letting the clubhead get past my hands.

While I have maybe one impossible shot a round now I am generally getting 3-5 gimme chips/pitches which is way better than the perfect club for the perfect shot that does not get executed properly and no gimmes.

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This isn't my advice, but I think it is the best advice for 95% of players--obviously YMMV, but I've seen this progression lower scores for 20+ handicappers and scratch players alike. When around the green, always follow this progression: (1) putt whenever possible; (2) when you CANNOT putt, use 8/9 iron and bump and run; (3) when you CANNOT bump and run, use the lowest lofted wedge to carry whatever is preventing you from bumping and running; (4) only hit high lobs/flops when your position on the course FORCES you to do so.

Lower ballflights are easier to dial in distance wise, reduce variables, and typically result in shorter putts.

Harking back to when I was learning to play the game, one of my father's sayings comes back to me every time I'm debating between green side clubs: "My worst putt is better than your average chip."

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Seems like sound advice all over the place in here. Maybe it doesnt apply to a 100 percent of golfers but it will definitely apply to the vast majority.

 

I'm a guy who wants the ball rolling like a putt as soon as possible. I'll use whatever low lofted club I have to use to achieve that.

 

My lob wedge is used when the pin is tight to me or I need to elevate a shot quickly. Maybe a few times per round at most.

 

 

 

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Im with the OP, and a recent 60 degree convert. As of about a year ago. I hit 90% of greenside shots with the LW. Some exceptions depending on the lie and how much green there is to work with. And my chipping has never been better. It's dangerous. Admittedly, I have also practiced alot with this club, but it was easy because good results were immediate. Whereas, before I was using 8-pw based on expert recommendations and I struggled mightily with distance control. With the 60 degree, on most shots I am just trying to land the ball at the hole and it checks immediately. I'm not concerned about holing out, as that is a rarity. I'm looking for tap in putts, and those have definitely increased with using the LW.

Imagine I stab an alignment stick into the middle of the practice green and march you off 15 yards. I give you one ball to throw or toss or roll or do whatever you want with your hands and if you get within 3 feet of the stick I will give you $100. Are you going to throw a low ball trying to land the ball just off the fringe and hope it rolls out correctly? Or are you going to toss that thing up in there air and let it come down directly in front of the stick knowing its not going roll out more than 3 feet? To me, the high toss seems natural.

Here's another question, if Skee-Ball didn't have the wire cage in front of the scoring rings, would you toss the ball or roll it??

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I wonder if this is another one of those "I'll post a theory or question (or whatever) and never return to the thread again" ?

So I won't waste my time refuting what the OP said, especially since enough of you did a great job of it already (maybe that's why he slunk away ? LOL).

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I don't think there is a wrong way, only a way that works better for the individual. I get both arguments though.

Conventional wisdom was that for an amateur there is less trouble rolling it so get it rolling quick. Use only as much loft as is needed to get over the fringe or rough spot, etc. Use a controlled putter-like swing and maybe choke down on the club to do so.

The "one wedge theory" is that you get better feel and control by using one wedge for all chips.

 

There's merit to both imo. Being able to do either or seems like the plan to me and pick depending upon the conditions you face. I don't want to try to hit an 8 from greenside rough. I don't practice the 3wood stroke for that and when I have tried it I found it to be too hot to control. I'd rather slide a wedge through. But on fairwya height or fringe that I can't putt through for some reason I don't mind a 7 or an 8.

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We are talking about chipping from the rough where the goal is to be within 3 feet to secure the up and down, and not holing every shot and risk being further away from the hole on misses which are more probable than makes. Whatever method gets me on average, closer to the hole is the better method.

But if i were on the green and tasked to put the ball in the hole from 20 feet using my hands and not a club, I would not roll it like a bowling ball trying to get it rolling as quick as possible as some people suggest you should do when chipping. Instead I would toss it toward the hole and let it roll out some.

Why dont you read the contours of the fairway from 165 out and blade your 7 iron up on the green? Having it roll the entire length of the green will give it a better chance to go in? Better to take those obstacles out of the equation, understand the stopping power you have with said club, and flight the ball the appropriate distance to get it close.

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I think both strategies have merit. What I would do is try to go out as a single or when its not busy and play 2 shots off the green (one with a less lofted bump and run and the second with the lofted wedge to land closer to the hole). Do this for about 3 rounds and document how you did with both strategies and see which method gave you the better results. For me as someone who only gets to play 9 holes once a week and 18 once a month using less lofted bump and runs got me closer to the hole on average. I find that I get just as many putts in gimmie range with either method, however using less lofted clubs to chip I was able to get within that 4-10 ft range more often where with the lofted wedges I had too many mixed results.

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This is a fine idea. I've done something similar on the practice greens where I put a 42" hula hoop around the hole. Best out of 10 from different lies with different clubs.

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Callaway Apex 20* AD DI 85s

Srixon 585 5-6, Z785 7-PW Modus 120S

50 Cleveland RTX 4

56 and 60, TM Hi Toe

EVNROLL ER3

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"Whatever method gets me on average, closer to the hole is the better method."

You were bound to get something right !!! LOL

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