Chipping vs. putting when you're off the green

By Mike Davis, PGA, Contributor

There has always been a discussion as to whether it is best to chip or putt when you're a short distance off the green in fairway or the fringe. This can be a fairly complicated evaluation with a really simple final decision.

Putting vs. chipping
To putt or chip? Sometimes the best rule is to go with the club that feels most comfortable.
Putting vs. chipping

The techniques are quite similar.

Grip: The grip for putting should have the club through your palms so the shaft is parallel to your forearms.

Chipping can be either the putting grip or the grip you use for full swing.

Set-up: Putting has your spine vertical with the ball at the low point of the arc.

Chipping has your spine tilted toward the hole with the ball slightly behind the low point.

Stroke: Motion is created with an upper torso rotation (shoulders or chest) with little or no arm or wrist action.

Chipping Concepts: You should use two to four clubs from a 5 iron to a sand wedge for chipping. (Remember, you must practice with any club that you might want to use.)

You should land the ball on the smoothest surface possible, usually the green.

Distance Control: You should focus on developing distance control through practicing different length shots and using a rehearsal stroke prior to every shot. A rehearsal stroke is one taken looking at your target while trying to feel the power needed for perfect distance.

Remember the straighter the face, the easier it is to control distance, that's why we use a putter on the green, so a 7 iron should make the shot easier than a sand wedge.

Putt Down and Chip Up: Downhill putts are almost always "down grain" and the ball will roll smoothly.

Uphill chip shots are usually "into the grain" and a rolling ball will often bounce making distance control more difficult.

You Are In Charge: When you look at a shot on the golf course, go with what feels best. I would rather you picked the wrong shot but felt comfortable than choose the correct shot and had doubts.

Mike Davis, PGAMike Davis, PGA, Contributor

Mike Davis is a PGA Master Professional and has been honored as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher. He has been chosen Instructor of the Year 13 times by different PGA Chapters and Sections. An expert in video golf instruction, Davis has been honored by the World Scientific Congress of Golf for his research.

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