Hot topic: Is using a Chipper just a soft option?

I used to play with a solid and steady eight-handicapper, who was irritatingly brilliant with this short-shafted putter with a 6-iron loft.

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 16 Jan 2006

Hot topic: Is using a Chipper just a soft option?


Ram Demon chipper

While I can sympathise with some golfers who lack the hand-eye co-ordination to chip around the green with any consistency, is the inclusion of a custom-fitted chipper in your bag just a softie’s option and an admission of failure?

There has been much discussion on the Golfmagic forum about the club, ever since one member admitted he’d be lost without his favourite club when soon to play abroad.

I regularly used to play with a solid and steady eight-handicapper, who was irritatingly brilliant with this short-shafted putter with a 6-iron loft.


Bay Hill chipper

Time and again when we thought we had him ‘against the ropes’, he’d pull out his £15 second-hand special and from 30 yards clip the ball effortlessly to within inches of and occasionally into, the hole!

"Len! That’s obscene!" we’d shout in frustration. "Get yourself a proper club and play the game properly. That’s tantamount to bloody cheating!"

But he’d just smile and slowly count the number of shots he’d taken on that hole on one hand (it was invariably four or less) and say: "It’s not how; it’s how many."

The chipper design goes back over 100 years when greens were smaller and more undulating and a special 'jigger' club was required to keep the ball low and running towards the hole.


Regal Chip King

With the introduction of versatile hybrid clubs and the use of metal headed lofted woods to play those delicate chips around the green, chippers have dwindled in popularity.

However, some women (my wife included) who lack confidence around the green and fear the embarrassment of fluffing a chip shot, prefer the putting stroke the chipper encourages.

And I’ve noticed that County Golf Direct currently has five Chippers in its stock – The Bronty (£19.99), Jaxx 3-ball (£14.99), Ram Demon (£19.99) and Regal Chip King (£19.99) while the Bay Hill two-Ball chipper (£26.49) and Palmer Bay Hill Chipper (£36.49) are available from various stockists.

Apart from a 3- or 5-wood (grip down the shaft with ball in the centre of your stance), various clubs already in your bag can achieve good chipping results.


Using a fairway metal from the fringe

Grip down lightly on a 5-, 6- or 7-iron and reduce the loft by positioning the ball towards the back of your stance. Keep the ‘putting action’ slow and smooth to lift the ball gently on to the putting surface to roll out towards the hole.

If the ball is tucked up against the fringe, use a sand wedge with a putting grip to strike the ball, with the club’s leading edge on its equator to deliver top spin roll through the fringe and towards the hole.

Personally I disapprove of the chipper - effectively a putter with at least 10 degrees of loft - but if it encourages those who lack the ability to chip with any confidence, they’re a fine addition to the bag – until they reach 18 handicap and play against me…

Then (in my negative opinion) they should be banned!

While I can sympathise with some golfers who lack the hand-eye co-ordination to chip around the green with any consistency, is the inclusion of a custom-fitted chipper in your bag just a softie’s option and an admission of failure?

There has been much discussion on the Golfmagic forum about the club, ever since one member admitted he’d be lost without his favourite club when soon to play abroad.

I regularly used to play with a solid and steady eight-handicapper, who was irritatingly brilliant with this short-shafted putter with a 6-iron loft.

Time and again when we thought we had him ‘against the ropes’, he’d pull out his £15 second-hand special and from 30 yards clip the ball effortlessly to within inches of and occasionally into, the hole!

"Len! That’s obscene!" we’d shout in frustration. "Get yourself a proper club and play the game properly. That’s tantamount to bloody cheating!"

But he’d just smile and slowly count the number of shots he’d taken on that hole on one hand (it was invariably four or less) and say: "It’s not how; it’s how many."

The chipper design goes back over 100 years when greens were smaller and more undulating and a special 'jigger' club was required to keep the ball low and running towards the hole.

With the introduction of versatile hybrid clubs and the use of metal headed lofted woods to play those delicate chips around the green, chippers have dwindled in popularity.

However, some women (my wife included) who lack confidence around the green and fear the embarrassment of fluffing a chip shot, prefer the putting stroke the chipper encourages.

Apart from a 3- or 5-wood (grip down the shaft with ball in the centre of your stance), various clubs already in your bag can achieve good chipping results.

Grip down lightly on a 5-, 6- or 7-iron and reduce the loft by positioning the ball towards the back of your stance. Keep the ‘putting action’ slow and smooth to lift the ball gently on to the putting surface to roll out towards the hole.
If the ball is tucked up against the fringe, use a sand wedge with a putting grip to strike the ball, with the club’s leading edge on its equator to deliver top spin roll through the fringe and towards the hole.

Personally I disapprove of the chipper - effectively a putter with at least 10 degrees of loft - but if it encourages those who lack the ability to chip with any confidence, they’re a fine addition to the bag – until they reach 18 handicap and play against me…

Want any chipping tips? Look at our guides to...

Chip or put off the green and Chipping off the toe for delicate chips

Or check out our Golf's Toughest Putts index or the overall Golf's Toughest Shots index.