Best Golf Drills to Improve your Chipping Game
No matter how well you hit the ball there are times during your golf round where you will miss the green and find your ball only a chip shot away from the putting surface. Getting up and down through a nice chip that puts you in a position to easily one-putt is a great recipe for saving par when you do miss the green.
Follow the chipping drills below to get your chip shots into gimme range and save more pars during your golf round.
- Consistent Strike Chipping Drill
- Putt your Chip Drill
- Chip within 3 Feet Drill
- Bump and Run Drill
- Hinge and Hold Drill
Consistent Strike Chipping Drill
Don’t Flip your Wrists at Impact
This drill will train your hands to remain relatively quiet during your chip shots. In essence, you will hold the club in your hands and let your shoulders roll back and forth without releasing your hands as you would for a normal shot. And in order to really understand the dynamics at play use the following trick:
- Instead of holding the club by the grip like you normally would hold it with your hands way down the shaft, just above the clubhead.
- Hold the club in your hands making sure the shaft of the club is off to your left side without touching your body.
- Practice making swings of varying lengths while making sure the takeaway and backswing are of an equal length to the follow through.
- Focus on making these practice swings with the sole help of the rotation of your shoulders, not through any movement in your wrists.
- Since the shaft of your club will be sticking out to your left side if you are successful in keeping your hands really quiet the shaft of your club will remain clear in front of you, even during your follow through.
- If you are breaking your wrists at impact or at the follow through the shaft of your club will strike your side.
Keep It Simple
Chip shots are delicate in nature and during an important round or match can be quite nerve racking. By simplifying the action of the chip shot so that it resembles more that of a putt you should see gains in consistency. That’s because you will shield yourself from flicking your wrists which could lead you to skulling the ball and seeing the ball fly past the flag and across the putting surface.
Putt your Chip Drill
Practice Chipping and Putting Them Out
This chipping drill takes place around the practice putting green and will require the wedge you use for chipping and your putter. It will train you to live with the consequence of a bad chip and will let you experience the reward of chipping the ball to within gimme range of the hole. Follow these instructions to really focus on chipping it close:
- Take three balls with you and drop them in the rough just off the practice putting green so that they have a similar lie and distance from the hole.
- Chip each shot onto the green and try to get as close as you can to the flag(s).
- Once done with all three balls, drop your wedge and instead grab your putter and walk up to your balls.
- Try to one-putt each ball and take note of how many “up-and-down” equivalents you are able to make.
- Notice how drastically easier it is to convert your ‘par’ when the ball is within gimme range. Aim to reward yourself with such a small putt distance every time you chip when you are playing on the course.
- Alternatively, you may choose to chip and putt one ball at a time, highlighting even further how you are able to make more putts when they are closest to the hole.
Leave Yourself Short Putts
With chipping sometimes the focus is on simply getting a good contact with the ball and seeing it roll towards the general direction of the hole. With this chipping drill you will train yourself to really aim for your chip shots to come to rest really close to the hole. So close that converting your par through a one-putt becomes a formality.
Chip Within 3 Feet Drill
Land your Chips Within 3 Feet of Different Flags
This chipping drill has you targeting different flags on the practice putting green. It requires the club you use for your chip shots and 6 balls. Follow the steps below to train you to chip it close, no matter how close or far the hole is.
- Drop 6 balls in the rough off the practice green and make sure they have an equally good lie.
- If possible and the practice green is not too crowded pick 3 flags as targets, ideally at varying distances from you.
- Chip 2 balls to each of the three flags, the first two towards the first flag, the following two at the next, and so on.
- For each of the chip you make try to make the ball come to rest within 3 feet of the hole, or within gimme range.
- Take note of how many up and down you would have made.
Become a Great Chipper, From Any Distance
This drill trains you to practice chip shots of different lengths. You might find you are better at a specific distance from the green but it doesn’t mean you’ll only face that distance and chip shot when you go out and play. Practice hitting different lengths of chips so that you become comfortable with all of them. Finally, try to see the balls coming to rest within your putter’s length from the hole.
Bump and Run Drill
Find your Air-to-Roll Ratios
In this chipping drill you will learn the air-to-roll ratio of the clubs you own and use when chipping. It will see you practicing bump-and-runs where the ball will land on the putting and green and roll the remaining distance towards the hole. Since each club in your bag has a unique loft angle the clubs you use for bump and runs won’t produce the exact same shot. Some clubs will see the ball make a small hop in the air and roll quite a distance while other clubs will send the ball in the air and only roll a bit further upon landing. Follow this drill to know which club to use when you just want the ball to land on the green and roll the rest of the way.
- Bring your clubs to the practice green, making sure you have your 7-iron, pitching wedge, and lob wedge handy.
- Drop balls just off the putting surface and place a marker at the half distance from the flag you choose as a target.
- Use your pitching wedge to hit some chip shots with the aim of seeing the ball land at the midway target. Hit a few and take note of how far past – or short of – the hole the ball rolls. As a baseline, a pitching wedge should produce a shot that spends roughly half the distance in the air and half the distance rolling. Take note and if this isn’t the club that produces this 50-50 ratio find the club in your bag that does.
- Next take your 7-iron and place the marker at roughly a quarter – or fifth of the distance – between the ball and the flag. Hit some chip shots with the aim of seeing the ball landing on the new target and rolling the rest of the way towards the flag. Roughly speaking, shots hit with a 7-iron should spend some 20% of its distance in the air and 80% rolling. Validate if this is true with your set and if not find the club that produces that ratio.
- Finally, take your lob wedge – or most lofted club – and place your marker some 75%-80% distance down towards the flag. Hit some chip shots with that club and again aim to see the ball landing at the marker before rolling on the short rest of the way. After hitting a few take note of how short or past the hole the ball travels after rolling. Generally speaking, a chip shot hit with a lob wedge should spend some 80% the distance in the air and the remaining 20% rolling.
Get the Ball Rolling As Soon As You Can
Sometimes the right chip shot isn’t always to get the ball airborne for as long as possible so that it lands as close to the pin as possible. Depending on the lie conditions and many other factors the best course of action oftentimes is to see the ball make just the hop necessary to clear the rough so that it lands on the putting green and starts rolling from there. Knowing your air-to-roll ratios will help you determine the club you should be hitting in order to hit a bump-and-run that rolls up to within gimme range of the hole.
Hinge and Hold Drill
The Phil Mickelson Chip
Finally, this drill will teach you the chipping technique that Phil Mickelson uses and advocates, the hinge and hold. Follow the instructions below to learn this very easy to understand, reliable chipping technique.
- Set up as you normally would for a chip shot near the practice putting green.
- Warm-up by rolling your shoulders back and forth as you would for any chip shot.
- Instead of locking your wrists as proposed in an earlier drill above allow your wrists to hinge as you take the club back during your takeaway.
- Once you reach the ‘top’ of your chipping swing lock your wrists in that position so that they remain hinged.
- Roll your shoulders forward while making sure your wrists do not unhinge. Or in other words, ‘hold’ your wrists in place as the club comes down towards the ball.
- Practice this motion several times before addressing a live ball while making sure you hinge on the way back and up and hold on the way back down.
Protects You from Mistiming Issues
Letting your wrists hinge slightly will increase the loft and distance of your shots, sending the ball a little higher and rolling nicely after landing. The problems associated with hinging and releasing your wrists as you come towards impact is that you need to get the timing absolutely right or else the ball will shoot across the putting surface or your club will strike the ground first. The hinge and hold technique removes this mistiming issue and turns a difficult, tricky chip shot into a reliable one that is easy to remember. Just hinga hold!