Pro Tip: When it comes to chipping, par is always OK

Updated: April 5, 2021

What’s the point of chipping? I ask this question to all my students who are seeking help with their short game. Most all of them answer incorrectly by saying, “to make it.” It’s a logical answer, but one that is most likely the cause of their struggles in the first place.  The point of chipping isn’t to make it, but to give your self the best opportunity to save par.

A chip replaces a lag putt. When you hit the green in regulation, you’re afforded two putts to make par. In this scenario, the average golfer will use their first putt to lag close to the hole and tap in for par. When you miss the green, you exchange one of your putts for a chip, thus making your chip a lag opportunity to help you save par. On Tour, any putt inside three feet has a 99% chance going in. Anything outside five feet and the chance of saving par drops drastically (a point of discussion for another day). So the real goal of chipping is to get it inside three feet.

Continuing with this thought process, you must then determine the best club selection for your chip. This is when I believe confidence outweighs strategy. Young amateurs are frequently ridiculed for choosing too much loft around the green. Logic says to only choose the loft necessary to carry onto the green and then roll out to the hole. However, if all you do is practice with your lob wedge and you are more confident controlling your distance with it, then fire away. Its only when distance control becomes an issue that we should discuss the “bump and run” with less loft.

This brings us to our last point. If you want to get better at chipping it inside three feet, then you must elevate your course management. As you are hitting your approach shot, you must strategize your miss (see my last article for more detail on this topic). If you can plan your missed approach shot in an area easiest for your chipping abilities, then you are giving yourself the best opportunity to save par. Better think twice before you fire directly at a tucked flag.

With a little course management, some statistics, and most importantly GAME management, you will undoubtedly start lowering your scores. This all can be done before we even address your swing mechanics. Its really a simple concept, but hard to remember in the moment. Let the “Inside 3 Feet” concept help give you confidence next time you’re chipping and save par.

For more detail on this concept follow Ryan Young Golf on YouTube and Instagram. To sign up for remote coaching, visit www.chambersbaygolf.