Instruction & Clinics

PRO POINTER
Dave McQuade
Director of Golf 

What is the difference between a chip and a pitch? We classify the difference in two categories: Trajectory and Technique. A chip shot normally rolls farther than it flies, whereas a pitch is a more lofted shot that flies farther than it rolls. Therefore a chip has a low trajectory, and a pitch has a higher trajectory. The technique of a chip is usually a firm wristed one-lever stroke,and the pitch uses a cocking of the wrists to create a two-lever motion. Putt whenever you can, chip when you canít putt, and pitch the ball only when you have to. The logic behind this is that it is easier to roll the ball along the ground than to loft it.

The basic chip is a short shot from just off the green. Choke down on the club, almost to the shaft, for greater control. Using an open stance, position the ball back of center, closer to the rear foot. Set most of your weight on the target foot and position hands ahead of the ball. Once you have the proper setup the chip shot is a firm one-lever motion with the hands remaining ahead of the club-head throughout the shot. By practicing with different clubs you will develop a feel. For example, a six-iron chip will run farther than a nine-iron chip. Remember that although you may change clubs, the setup and technique remain the same.

The transition from chip to pitch can be made easily. The same basic set-up applies with slight modifications. The position of the ball can be more in the middle of the stance, bringing the hands more to the center of the body, adding loft to the club. This shot is usually played with a higher-lofted club such as a pitching wedge. The technique here is to add a slight wrist cock that will lengthen the swing. The hinging of the wrists, added to the arm swing will produce a higher lofted shot that will fly farther than it rolls. This shot requires more practice because of the addition of the wrists, making it a two-lever motion. By knowing the difference in technique and practicing both chipping and pitching, you will not only save strokes around the green, but also enjoy the game more!