The SW Chipping Mentality

The mentality that the sand wedge is the one and only club to chip with is a common mistake among amateur golfers. I see many players use their sand wedge to chip from everywhere – anything from a shot over a tree to a tight pin, to a back pin from a tight fringe lie. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for using your sand wedge to chip; but it isn’t all the time…

chipping tips

I think that the ‘sand-wedge-only’ thinking stems from a lack of confidence chipping with other clubs. Practice creates confidence. To become a more rounded player, you need to work on chipping with your lob wedge, pitching wedge all the way to your six or five iron, even consider using your putter. Learn through practice what types of situation you would use each club. The general concept for chipping is to get the ball as close to hole as possible with the least room for error.

Hitting a sand wedge from a tight uphill lie to a back pin with no trouble in the way isn’t the right play. A six or seven iron will the get the job done with more consistency and control. The next time you’re at the range, forget the driver. Take that large bucket to the putting and chipping green and have at it. Better yet, invite a golf buddy and compete against each other. Improving your short game and versatility around the greens will lower your score far faster than an extra 5 yards with your driver. Besides, you get to reuse your bucket of balls as much as you want anyway.

A solid short game is the key to lower scores…

Don’t forget that!


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  1. I am starting to find out that what you are saying is correct. I have been influenced a lot by the DVDs on the short game produced by Phil Mickelson. He uses a 60 degree wedge for every pitch and chip, advocating what he calls a “hinge and hold” method. He explains that when he was a kid he developed this technique. He learns to deloft the club in variuos ways. Do you have any comments of his DVDs and the Hinge and Hold for chipping? I realize it is hard to be critical of a good guy like Phil. But he could be wrong given the way he learned the game in a most intuitive manner as a kid.

  2. Another great article. Great advice about using lots of clubs. Assess the situation and get that ball rolling towards the pin as soon as possible.

    The best and fastest way to lower your handicap is to improve your short game. I would rather strike the ball poorly and chip and put well than strike it great and chip and put poorly. The first option will always = the lowest score.

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