Perfect Contact on All Your Chips

No More Chunks, Chili Dips, or Skulls!

How often do you hit simple little chip shots fat or thin?  More often than you’d like to admit?  Well, with one simple set up adjustment, I’m going to help remove the words chunk, chili dip, skull, fat, and thin from your vocabulary, and I’m going to replace them with words like up and down, gimme, and chip in.

This Tip Is For You If:

You struggle with contact and distance control on your chip shots.

The Fix:

The simple adjustment that I want you to make is to get your right shoulder even with your left shoulder at address.  Take a look at the pictures below.

Chipping Right Shoulder High (1)

In this picture, my right shoulder is way too low.  I’m probably going to hit this chip poorly.

Chipping Right Shoulder High (2)

Here my shoulders are almost even, exactly what I want.  This feels like my right shoulder is higher than my left, but we can see that’s not the case.

Chipping R Shoulder High (3)

Finally, here is my right shoulder above my left.  While you could probably hit a decent chip from this position, it’s very unnatural and uncomfortable.  I don’t recommend going this far.

Stick With It!

This may feel very awkward at first, especially if you tend to lean to the right at address, but stick with it.  Here’s why this small change can help:

1) It will help you keep your weight on your left foot, a key fundamental for good chipping.

2) It helps to ensure that the bottom of your swing is in front of the ball.

If your right shoulder is too low, the bottom of your swing can end up behind the ball.  When this happens, you either hit this shot (the “chili dip,” hitting the ground before the ball):

Chipping Right Shoulder High (4) Chipping R Shoulder High (7)

Or, in an effort to save the club from the dirt, you hit this shot (“blading” it, hitting the ball with the club’s leading edge):

Chipping Right Shoulder High (6) Chipping R Shoulder High (9)

But, if you follow my advice and get your shoulders even, you’ll start hitting this shot:

Chipping Right Shoulder High (5) Chipping R Shoulder High (8)

A final note: when you work on this, please keep the ball in a centered position.  There’s no need to have the ball dramatically back or forward in your stance.

I hope this helps you on the course.  As always, please post comments or questions below.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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9 Comments

  1. EXCELLENT and most often overlooked tip when it comes to chipping!!! I love how in all models you have your weight positioned on the lead foot which aids in a decending blow- crucial to the chip. However, with the shoulders angled it’s almost impossible to make a solid strike. Awesome tip Matt!

  2. aotearoabrad

    Great tip Matt, this is something I can definitely see benefitting my game. Much appreciated

  3. Thanks for your advice. I’m headed up to WI to play golf later this week and plan to put your instruction to work. I’ll report back.

  4. Best advice i never receive on chipping and very clear! Would this also work on putting and pitching?
    Do you plan similar article on pitching?

    • Matt Saternus

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      For putting, I prefer a more balanced set up, but having some weight forward might work better for some players. You can certainly use this advice for longer chips or pitches, but keep in mind that it will cause the trajectory to be lower than normal.
      I am working on a couple of pitching tips that should be out some time this summer.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Matt,

    I am looking for a tip to stop shanking my short chips! My full and even half iron shots are fine, but I recently developed this problem when using my 7-8 iron with a putting type stroke from just off of the green (I never use my wedges if I can keep the ball low). I have always been pretty good at getting the ball on the green and running quickly until this year something changed. Using a putting type action I take a couple of practice swings brushing the grass but my shot goes right 2 of 3 times lately and I’m talking from very close to the green but not close enough to putt. Shots I thought I was hitting off of the toe are actually coming off of the hossle (Sh&%K) and going almost dead right and weak. My buddy noticed this and I have been trying to correct ever since. I have heard that relaxing your left hand grip helps as does keeping your arms “underneath you, or hanging straight down also helps and I have tried both with a bit of improvement, but am looking for any other tip you may have. I have also tied setting up with the toe behind the ball at address but know this is just a bandage and not a correct fix. Will keeping my shoulders level and weight on my front foot help with this? Please help as my iron game has actually gotten good this year, but as the golf Gods would have it they had to take something else away and this once simple little shot is messing with my head!!!
    Thanks…Bob K.

  6. Not sure how to answer other than to say I was taught to align the middle of the club face with the ball on each shot. Any other insight you can offer?

    Thanks again…Bob

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