When to Chip it or Pitch it?

PGA Fellow Professional

When to Chip it or Pitch it?

When to Chip it or Pitch it?

When to Chip it or Pitch it? is a short golf blog post simply explaining when a golfer should chip or pitch the ball onto the green?

Lots of amateurs, when under pressure, choose the wrong type of approach shot.

When you find yourself around the green, there are 3 basic shots to learn, Chipping, chip & run, Pitching.

How do we decide what shot to play from where?

Questions to ask yourself first?

I like to take a look at several things before deciding what kind of shot to play.
I always answer the following questions to help me decide what to do.

First of all, I take a look at how the ball is lying. Is it sitting up on the grass or is it sitting down in the grass?
How much grass is there? Is there no grass, little grass, or a lot of grass underneath my ball?

Is the ground below my ball hard or soft?

How much green do I have to work with? Where is the hole situated in relation to the fringe of the green? Is the hole in the middle of the green or is it at the front or even at the back of the green?

Does the green slope towards me or does it fall away from me? Is the green flat?

How firm are the greens? Are they soft or hard? Are the greens playing slow or fast?

Lastly, How is my game today? Am I on form? How has my short game been up to this point?

Once I have answered all of the above, then I am ready to decide what shot to play.

My choice of shot in perfect conditions.

Chip it or Pitch it?

The above diagram shows various distances and hole positions to consider before choosing a type of shot.
The diagram is based on perfect conditions and a perfect lie.

Shot 1 – The ball is lying just short of the front edge of the green. The flag is at the back of the green. This would be a perfect situation for a Chip & Run.

Shot 2 – The ball is lying a little further away from the front edge of the green and the flag is in the middle. A basic Chip shot would be perfect for this situation.

Shot 3 – The ball is lying some distance to the front edge of the green and the flag is situated towards the front. A Pitch is a perfect choice for this shot.

A good starting block for all beginners to think about, when faced with a short shot, is to imagine the ball flying through the air and landing on the front of the green. The goal should always be to land the ball on the green to make it easier to judge how the ball will then react. It then depends on the height, speed and spin of the ball in flight to how the ball will then react once it lands on the green. How much will it roll etc?

Double-check the percentages!

Imagine the distance to the front of the green as a percentage of the overall distance required. The amount of roll required is the remaining percentage.

25% flight and 75% roll (Chip & Run) – Shot 1.

50% flight and 50% roll (Chip) – Shot 2.

75% flight and 25% roll. (Pitch) – Shot 3.

After considering all of the above, you should now be able to choose precisely the right shot to play.


What is your favourite short shot?

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Image by David Barnard from Pixabay