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The impossible-to-screw-up low chip shot: A five-step guide

August 12, 2023

Knowing how to make a smaller swing around the greens for better control of contact and direction is an easy way to avoid big numbers. This low chip shot is for when you've got more of the green to traverse. It's between a high chip and a bump-and-run. This low chip shot can help you charge your ball up a slope, and run it across the surface with a little spin to slow it down. I'm going to read it like a putt but it's going to respond more like a chip, without any fear of chunks or skulls. —Joe Plecker, Director of Instruction, Landings Club, Savannah, Ga., Golf Digest Best in State Teacher

The Low Spinny Chip Formula

  • Choose a low-lofted wedge
  • Place ball position back in your stance
  • Lean the clubshaft towards the target
  • Move your arms with no wrist action

Low Chip Step #1: Low-lofted Wedge

With higher-lofted wedges, you can swing a little harder and the ball comes out a little softer. For a low chip shot like this, I'm looking for something that I can swing softer, and the ball will come out a little hotter. Generally, that means something with a loft of about 50 degrees. It will allow for a very simple, stable shot that's going to give us a lot of run with a little spin.

Low Chip Step #2: Ball Position Back

I like to look at ball position relative to the sternum. Your sternum should be ahead of the ball, and the ball itself should be inside your trail foot. That will let you hit down on the ball with a descending blow, with ball-first contact.

Low Chip Step #3: Hands Forward

The ball position being back will help move your hands slightly forward, towards the target. But adding a little more forward lean reduces the loft of the golf club even more and allows the wrists to remain very stable. The more the handle gets back, the softer your wrists get. A little forward lean ensures the hands staying firm.

Low Chip Step #4: No Wrists

What we're trying to do here is take out a lot of changes in the hand and wrist position. That way we can maintain a shallow, small arc of a swing for good control. There's not a lot of clubface rotation here. There's not a lot of loft change, either. You're just using torso to turn.

Low Chip Step #5: Let The Body Flow

Even though I want my wrists to stay firm, notice how my body is moving, flowing, turning together. You see a pressure shift; you see footwork; you see a move that almost mimics a bit of an underhand toss to the target. My chest and body are moving towards the target, and I'm not forcing myself to keep my head down.