NCG's Golf Glossary: What is a chili dip?
I’m a sweeper.
I like to brush the ball off the turf. A greenkeeper once told me he liked my style because I only ‘bruised’ his precious grass, rather than employing my wedge in the way a lumberjack might use an axe to fell a particularly stubborn tree.
So the only chili dip I tend to enjoy is accompanying a big plate of nachos.
But that’s just me. I’m one of the lucky ones. For some of us, though, this is a real and present danger.
Take a brief look at any around the green and you will see its evil all around. The tell-tale gouge in the turf and the bent shaft of a golf club rammed into the nearby bin.
Word of the week: Chili dip
The Americans are so dramatic, aren’t they? Across the pond, we have a much simpler term for this. It’s a shot that’s fat.
When you chili-dip, it means the club – whether you are hitting a pitch or a chip – strikes the ground behind the ball.
‘Behind the ball’ is actually a loose term, because it’s normally at least half a foot behind and you’ll always know at the moment of impact that something is very, very wrong.
You dig up a heap of turf and this means little, or no contact, with the ball at all.
If you do manage to get something on it, the result is a dribble of a shot that doesn’t go very far. Look down, the ball might still be there.
It’s a horror show all around. It causes maximum embarrassment – particularly if you’ve smashed a long drive and then wasted a shot by losing your mind around the green.
And it breeds uncertainty. See how you feel about that simple chip when you next have a wedge in your hand.
The professionals are no means immune.
We could put together a long list of players to suffered this torment when the ultimate pressure was on, one of the more notable occasions being Hunter Mahan’s ‘flub’ on the 17th that cost the United States the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010.
But the most famous chili dip in history wasn’t even of this world.
Alan Shepard admitted he did it when hitting the famous golf shot on the moon in 1971.