Chipping can be one of the most frustrating parts of golf. Consistency when chipping is key, but that’s so hard to find when you’re constantly playing to different greens with different lies. One way to improve your chipping is to make sure you’re using the correct club for the right situation.
As a general rule, the best clubs to use when chipping are your lob wedges. However, you might find certain scenarios where a sand wedge, a gap wedge, or maybe even a driver might come in handy. But for basic chips, it’s best to use a 58-60 degree chipping wedge.
In this guide, we’ll be delving into the best pitching and chipping clubs that you should be using to save shots around the green. We will tell you how to choose the right club for your ball’s lie and how to hit your wedges to get the best results from each shot.
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What Club Should I Use When Chipping Around The Green?
As a general rule, you could either hit a pitching wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge, or lob wedge. Pitching wedges and gap wedges provide less spin and will give your shot greater distance. But if you’re looking for more loft, it’s better to hit either a sand or lob wedge.
For a basic chip, it’s perhaps always best to use a lob wedge. The lob wedge is perhaps the least forgiving club in your golf bag, but they are the most effective to use on your approach to the green when played right.
Although there are scenarios where you might want to avoid using a lob wedge and break out your pitching wedge or gap wedge instead. Before we investigate when to use each club, let’s quickly look at what each golf club does.
The Pitching Wedge
I think of my pitching wedge as a shorter version of my nine iron. It allows me to nail approach shots from around 110 to 120 yards out while adding more loft and spin onto my shot. Pitching wedges are lofted between 42 and 48 degrees and are typically a lot meatier than their wedge counterparts. That means when it comes to close chips around the greens, they are great for bump and runs from 20 yards out.
Callaway’s Big Bertha Pitching Wedge is an excellent club for any beginner looking to get high clubhead speeds through the golf ball while using a very forgiving club. With its noticeably wider sole, the club can give you more traction to get underneath your shot while also providing you with a better connection than perhaps a forged iron wedge might provide. Check it out if you’re in the market for a new 48-degree wedge.
Compared to your loftier wedges, you can get greater distance on a pitching wedge, with most pro players being able to flush a pitching wedge around 135 yards. But it’s also perhaps the most forgiving of the wedges, and that’s why the pitch is excellent to use when you’re not feeling confident in your chipping game. That also means pitching wedges are an excellent club for beginners to get used to chipping around the greens.
Being the difference between your nine iron and your other wedges, they are one of the most invaluable clubs in your bag. They can be used on approach shots to the green, for close dinks around the green, and even on the green, but only in specific circumstances. For more information on when you can and can’t chip on the green, head over to our chipping guide.
The Gap Wedge
As the pitching wedge is the difference between your irons and your wedges, your gap wedge is the difference between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. A typical gap wedge will be lofted at around 50 to 52 degrees, allowing you to get a little more height on your shots than a pitching wedge but provides a little more control and backspin on the ball.
Gap wedges are a tough club to hit as their angle means they’re suited to slightly longer approach chips than a lob or sand wedge, but typically they’re not as heavy or as well backed as a pitching wedge might be. That means it’s harder to get your distances right with them, and you’ll usually have to use a full swing when you chip with a gap wedge to get the ball to travel where you need it to go.
Cleveland’s CBX 2 gap wedges on Amazon are tough and light and allow you to get great traction under the ball but help you hit the right distance. With a forged back, the CBX has its weight distributed to the perimeters of the club, which stops the club from twisting on impact with the golf ball, giving you a sweeter strike. Plus, if you’re looking for greater short game control, this club’s enhanced groves and milling allow you to get more spin on the ball with less clubhead speed.
Ideally, a gap wedge should be used when you’re around 90 to 110 yards out from the hole. But they’re also great for bump and run chips around the green. These types of shots give you greater control on firmer ground, and you can use your gap wedge to add more front spin onto the shot to make the ball spin into the shot. If you’re looking to get better at chipping with your gap wedge, you should book a chipping lesson with your local coach. Here’s what you can expect to do in a standard chipping lesson.
The Sand Wedge
Sand wedges are a rescue club. They are chunky and have a high loft that allows players to scoop golf balls up and over the lip of a bunker. They can also be used off the ground and are super effective if you’re looking to chip a shot into the green from 80-90 yards out.
The bunker club is most effective from close range, particularly if you have an obstacle in your way. With a higher clubhead loft, you can get a shorter swing on the club, allowing for less error when trying to find the right length of your shot. Your sand wedge can also provide a sweeter connection from 20 yards out than your pitching wedge, particularly if you’re trying to get the ball in the air and stop it dead on the playing surface.
Cleveland’s Smart Sole 3 sand wedge on Amazon is another club that is great for beginners. Designed with a three-tiered sole, the club makes it easier for players who usually struggle to get the ball out of a bunker to cut their club underneath the sand and generate loft on the golf ball. Its wide toe makes it all the more forgiving and is balanced well enough to take the vibrations and sting out of the shot as you strike through on the sand.
Sand wedges are best used from bunkers, and as a rescue club, they are designed to help you play short chips to get you out of tricky situations around the green.
When hitting from a bunker, pitching wedges and gap wedges don’t give you the loft you need to get the ball over the lip of the sand trap. Meanwhile, a lob wedge won’t give you the same forgiveness and power that a sand wedge can from the hazard, making sand wedges the best club to use from bunkers around the green.
The Lob Wedge
When Phil Mickelson hits one of his trademark flop shots, he’s almost always using a lob wedge. With the added loft and high degree on the club, lob wedges allow golfers to get a full sweep under the golf club and push the ball up from the turf onto the green. From less than 10 yards out, the lob wedge is perhaps one of the best clubs to use to get the ball within three feet of the hole.
Because of the loft on the club, players can comfortably add more power and backswing onto the shot without the fear that they might overpower the shot. That allows good golfers to attack the ball with a greater club speed and add more spin onto the golf ball.
If you’re looking to flop the ball up high and get a great spin under the ball, Taylormade’s Hi Toe Raw wedge from Amazon is the club for you. You can purchase these from various angles, but I recommend buying the 60º if you’re not looking to spend too much on your clubs. Because these clubs face is covered in milled groves and full-faced scoring lines, you can get far better control, spin, and traction under the ball to hit more precise flop shots onto the greens.
Lob wedges are also a lot lighter than other wedges, meaning it’s easier to hit small dinks onto the green from 10 yards out. Plus, they provide you with a more consistent spin than a pitching wedge might, and that allows golfers to judge better how much power to put on each shot.
Check out our investigation into what’s inside your ball and how its interior changes the flight path and dynamics of your golf shots.
How Do I Choose The Right Chipping Club?
There are four factors you need to take into account when choosing the right club to play in for each chip shot you encounter on the course. They are:
- the lie of the golf ball;
- the distance to the hole;
- the firmness of the green; and
- obstacles in your way.
Golfers are only allowed 14 clubs in their bag. So you won’t have enough space to take all four of the above clubs on your round. I would recommend taking at least two of the above, as each club plays a different role when it comes to chipping onto the green.
It also comes down to which clubs you’re comfortable chipping with in certain situations. Beginners might go for a pitching wedge, and a sand wedge as these are both forgiving clubs and can help you cover long approach shots and lofted chips closer to the green.
Ultimately nothing can prepare you for what you’ll find on the course, so depending on the shot in front of you, you’ll need to assess the lie, length to the hole, firmness of the ground and any obstacles in your way when choosing what club to chip with. Let’s take a look at how each of these factors can impact your chipping game.
The Golf Ball’s Lie
The lie is perhaps the most important thing to think about when chipping. You need to assess whether the ground is soft or hard, whether the grass is too long for a lob wedge, or maybe too thick to cut a lob wedge through. Ideally, if you’re playing from long grass, it’s best to hit down on the ball to pump it out with a gap wedge.
Trying to cut through thick grass with a lob wedge can be very difficult and can cause you to fluff your shot. Sometimes, your ball might find a better lie on a much more fluffy piece of grass that you might be able to chop under. That’s when a lob wedge might come in handy to cut under the ball and lift it up and onto the green.
When it comes to hard ground, it’s better to hit down on the ball with a lower degree club instead of trying to scoop under it with a lob wedge. You’ll likely connect with the ground and hit the shot fat if you try to play a lob wedge on hard ground. So it’s always better to play safe, strike a bump, and run pitching wedge on firmer ground.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to hit in each lie, you should arrange a course lesson with your golf coach, who can give you tips on which club to hit for each lie.
Distance To The Hole
The higher the degree of loft on the club, the less distance the ball will travel, and that can be useful when it comes to chipping shorter distances around the greens. Lob wedges and sand wedges are perfect for those shots because they are light and allow you to swing fast through the golf ball and put a lot of spin on your shot.
You can also use your gap wedge and pitching wedge to punt the ball onto the green, but they won’t give you as much control or spin. Although one thing to note is a pitching wedge can be a great fallback club if you’re not feeling as confident with your lob wedge. The pitching wedge will give you greater consistency in your shots and will reduce the likelihood of hitting your shot fat.
Firmness Of The Green
Chipping onto hard greens can often be described as hitting onto a marble floor; the ball can bounce high and roll straight off the green if you come at it with too much loft or pace. Unless you’re confident in your ability to put spin on your shots, most amateur golfers should play bump and run shots onto harder greens with higher lofted clubs.
For softer greens, it’s better to try to attack the flag with your sand or lob wedge and try to roll the ball a lot less. On wet greens especially, the ball won’t roll as far or as true, and that can be make it harder for golfers playing bump and run shots to get the ball close to the pin.
Obstacles In Your Way
With hazards, ditches, and even trees in your way to the green, it’s best to use a lofted club to scoop the ball up and over the obstacle and drop it onto the dance floor. The added spin these clubs can give you to get the ball to hold on the green in the position you need it, can increase the likelihood of you making par.
The Rub Of The Green
Ultimately it comes down to experimenting and figuring out what your favourite club to chip with is. You might find that chipping with your driver or seven iron can be more consistent to help you cover those awkward 10 to 15-yard chips to the green.
Get creative, try out different chipping methods for each club, and practice with the clubs you want to use on the course. Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice each type of lie, the better you’ll be when playing each shot on the course. With that in mind, golf lessons can help you massively improve your game, so why not check out our guide on why golf lessons are worth the cost here.