What is a chip? Well, here at National Club Golfer we’re the publication for the everyday player and so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a step-by-step introduction to the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

Word of the week: Chip


What is a chip?

No, not a potato fry, or even what they call a crisp in America. I’m talking about a short golf shot that is played from adjacent to a green.  It’s a stroke of great skill and owes nothing to strength.

You can use almost any club in the bag to play a chip with – from a hybrid to a 7-iron to a lob wedge. Typically, the function of a chip shot will propel your ball through the air over the longer grass and then roll out on the green towards the hole.

How would you use it in a sentence?

“Despite missing the green, a delicately judged chip ensured a par save for Catriona Matthew.”

what is a chip golf glossary

What are its origins?

It’s a curious thing that in golf the term chip describes what is usually a low-flighted shot. Whereas, in football, say, you associate a chip with more height.

Any other business?

So we have answered one of golf’s great philosophical questions: what is a chip. And proptly run into another one: when does a chip become a pitch? And vice versa.

There’s no real answer to this but we are going to suggest 50 yards is the cut-off. Anything under that is a chip and anything over is a pitch. You would expect a pitch to be higher flighted, with more backspin and to stop a little quicker than a chip.

Just to confuse matters, some skilful players even talk about playing a chip with a full swing, perhaps to counter the effects of a headwind: “I had 1115 yards into a hurricane so I just kind of chipped one in with a 5-iron, to take the spin off and control the flight.”

It’s the same idea though – a low, running shot.

Then there is the flop shot, let’s not even get started on that. It’s one for another day.

Also, Chip Beck was an American tour pro and Ryder Cup player. That’s something different as well.

Here’s Chip chipping:

what is a chip golf glossary


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