Is it a Chip Shot or a Pitch Shot? by Karen Nicoletti

Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This question is asked a lot at my short game schools. “What is the difference between a pitch shot and a chip shot?”  A chip shot has more ground time than air time. It is a low running shot. A pitch shot is a mini version of a full swing. It has more air time than roll.

To have good pitching essentials, you must have a good routine.
Pre Swing- Grip, aim, set up, posture, and stance
Ball Position-  Back in your stance, the ball flight will be lower. (Most run out)
Middle of your stance, the ball flight will be a little bit higher
Forward in your stance, the ball flight will be the highest. (Least run out)

In pitching, the height of the shot needed depends on how much green you may have to work with. For example, if you were to have 30 or 40 feet of green between you and the hole, you may be able to put the ball back in your stance and hit a lower, running pitch that may only half to fly half way to the hole and release the rest of the way. This shot can be done with a sand wedge or even a pitching wedge. This is the more favorable type of pitch shot, as it is the easiest, with the most room for error.
Some situations may call for a high, soft pitch shot. Usually you may have to go over a bunker, or water, to a pin that may only be a few paces onto the green. A lob wedge is best utilized for this shot. Most would agree that this shot is the hardest shot in golf. Easiest to try to just avoid this shot. If laying up to a green with a tight flag always stay far enough back to leave yourself a full shot into the green.

In chipping, the shot is a low shot that is only in the air for a pace or two and then roles most of the distance to the hole. Ball position is in the middle to back of your stance. Make sure that your weight remains steadily on your forward leg. There is no weight shift for this shot. Once you have this set-up understood, change clubs to make the ball roll farther or shorter. For example, a long chip shot may call for a 7 iron, where a shorter amount of roll could be done with a pitching wedge.

Most importantly with both shots is impact. Remember, hitting slightly down on the ball makes it go up. I repeat, hitting down on the ball will make it go into the air. If you’re constantly “sculling” these shots, you’re most likely trying to help the ball up in the air. Commonly referred to as “scooping” or “flipping” your hands. And trust me, no matter how often your partners tell you, I promise, it’s NOT because you are “lifting your head or looking up!!!”

Good luck with both of these shots.
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