For the uninitiated, the game of golf can seem like a confounding array of rules and regulations. But for those of us who love the sport, there's nothing more satisfying than sinking a long putt or nailing a perfect drive down the fairway. Part of what makes golf so great is that it can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels—from beginner to pro.
Perhaps, you're struggling with your short game and you're tempted to buy a chipper. But you're not even sure what a chipper is and how it helps? And is it legal?
Well, before you run to your local golf shop, you might want to check the rule book. According to the USGA, chippers are legal - but there are some caveats. Let's take a closer look.
What is a Chipper?
A chipper is a club that is designed for golfers who struggle with shots around the green. It is meant to be used for chips and pitches instead of using your wedge or a 7 iron or other clubs.
It is typically the length of a putter or wedge but can be longer. It has a wider sole and lower center of gravity than your wedges. Most chippers have a loft between 30 and 40 degrees. However, you can find chippers with much higher lofts.
The chipper is used like a putter with a pendulum-type stroke. It is best used around the fringe or in awkward or tight lies 30-40 yards and in.
The Answer, According to the USGA
According to the USGA. there is a question asked in the Frequently Asked Questions: Equipment section, "Do Chippers conform?"
The USGA says that chippers are legal. They are considered irons, not putters, and therefore must conform with the requirements for woods and irons.
However, there are some restrictions. Chippers can not have the same grip as a putter. They can not have two striking faces. And they can not have appendages for aiming purposes. So if you're looking to use a chipper on your next round, make sure it conforms to these guidelines or you will not be able to use it in tournament play
Should You Use a Chipper?
There is no simple answer to this question, as it depends on a number of factors and your own personal preferences. Let's discuss the good and the bad of using a chipper.
- If you're a high handicapper or brand new to the game, a chipper can be a great way to help you around the greens and encourage good habits.
- If you can't chip with a wedge or your irons no matter how hard you practice or how many lessons you take, a chipper could be the perfect solution.
- Using a chipper is very similar to putting - you use the same simple stroke you do for putting. It feels like a putter but with loft.
- The design of the chipper effectively eliminates thin and fat chip shots from the fringe and around the green. Even your mishits look good.
- If you've lost all confidence and developed a case of the chipping yips, a chipper may help restore your confidence and bring back your short game.
- Have you ever seen a Pro using one in a tournament? We haven't.
- Chippers are frowned upon by better players and golfing traditionalists. It's almost seen as a gimmicky club.
- You will have to replace one of the clubs in your bag.
- You're a mid to low handicapper and you want to get better. You know the best way to do that is to master different shots around the green so that you can get up and down from any lie.
- You like to have more control and spin when you're chipping.
If you've been fortunate to see any of our other articles you've probably noticed that we love a good video lesson. Here's today's treat:
So there you have it: everything you need to know about chippers in golf. These handy clubs can help you get up and down and eliminate those skulled chips. So next time you're struggling with your game, remember: reach for a chipper instead of that wedge!
If you're not sold on using a chipper but want to improve your short game then we've got the perfect solution. See below.
Now that you've mastered your chipping its time to start making more putts. See below to get started.