Chipper golf clubs, or chipper putters, were once quite popular among golfers back in the day. However, their popularity has waned significantly in recent times. But if you have ever missed the green in games, despite having a good iron shot and a great drive, then you might want to try using a chipper golf club.
Chipper golf clubs are a must-have for anyone looking to up their golf game. These clubs have a weight distribution that’s highly effective for putting from certain angles around the green.
This article will examine what a golf chipper is, its unique uses, legality, and how it can serve different golfers. Plus, we’ll also take a look at some of the best ones in the market today!
What is a Chipper Golf Club?
A chipper putter is a club used specifically to make chip shots. This golf club is ideal for making shots too short for a wedge but too long for a putter. The chipper club has a unique build, roughly the length of a 7 iron with the loft of a wedge or short iron.
The length of the shaft ranges from 36 – 60 inches (depending on your model choice), and the club face is offset, which helps you keep your hands in front of the ball. So if you struggle with wrist action, this may be the right golf club for you.
With a 32° – 37° of loft angle, the shallower build of the swing plane allows you to use the chipper to swing through greenside rough without getting caught the way a wedge usually does.
There are several types of chippers, but the general concept is a club that allows you to pop the ball into the air and roll it into the green with minimal effort. Some refer to it as a beginner’s wedge. This golf is also perfect for seniors and junior golfers.
Many high handicappers also use a chipper, as some often have difficulty getting the right stroke with wedges for their short games.
Chipper clubs are not very common these days, and you are more likely to come across them in an infomercial or a sports magazine than on your local golf course. However, you can still source them if you need them.
You’ll want to understand how golf chipping works in order to fully grasp how a chipper might come in handy. To illustrate, let’s compare chipping to pitching, two similar strokes with different purposes.
Pitching is a swing that results in the ball flying through the air to stop around the green. Higher lofted clubs like a lob wedge, sand wedge, and wood wedge are used for pitching as they usually result in higher shots.
On the other hand, chipping is a shorter swing used to get the ball onto the green and then roll, like a putt. A chip shot is usually done with a gap wedge, short iron, pitching, or other lower lofted clubs. When chipping, the aim is to keep the spin lower so that the ball rolls at the end.
How to Use a Chipper Golf Club
Chances are, if you already know how to set up for putting, then it won’t be very difficult to use a chipper. The most difficult part of using a chipper is utilizing proper technique:
- Keep the ball directly below your eyes and visible as you glance down.
- Stand about 30 yards or closer to the green, you should be just off the green’s fringe.
- Keep a slightly narrow stance, and let your front leg bear more weight.
- Swing through the shoulders and strike the ball with less force than you would when putting.
The ball’s flight from a chipper is also similar to the shots produced by hybrid chips, although the latter is higher.
Advantages of Using a Chipper Golf Club
Here are some advantages of using a chipper golf club:
The weight and angle of a chipper make it much easier to make consistent contact and hits.
If you struggle with the rudiments of using a club, such as opening the club or making setup adjustments, using a chipper gives you one less thing to worry about. This will help you build confidence on the course.
Decreased Shaft Length
A mid-iron is typically long (about 40 inches), so you have to grip down on it. However, a chipper golf iron is about 36 inches long, allowing you to relax your grip.
Straighter and Balanced Lie Angle
The lie angle of a chipper is usually somewhere between 68° – 70°. This will impact your accuracy, distance, consistency, and shot shape when you swing.
Instead of choking up on the club and raising your grip as you would with a 7 iron, you can stand closer to the ball and hit it straight through with the face of the club.
Extra Toe Weight
The center of mass on a chipper allows you to put more weight on your toe. This will keep you from opening or closing your stance during your shot. Instead, you can keep the face straight as you swing to get the perfect chip shot.
The extra-wide sole on a chipper makes it easier to make contact with the ball. The wide sole and the leading edge will help you avoid digging into the turf.
Who Should Use a Chipper Golf Club
Certain golfers will enjoy using a chipper club more than others. Some of them are:
A beginner golfer will benefit from a chipper. When you initially start playing, it can take a while to learn all the rules. Constantly having to make setup adjustments can get overwhelming. Having a chipper gets rid of this struggle.
Senior golfers may benefit from a chipper as well. As people get older, they may have less control over their wrists and need additional support during golf games. The weight distribution and decreased shaft length make chipper clubs an excellent choice for seniors who want to keep enjoying the game.
Players with Wrist Injuries
Many players with wrist Injuries will also benefit from using chipper golf clubs. Like seniors, a chipper club provides an easier grip for those with weakened or otherwise compromised wrists. You can rely on the wide soles for easier hits.
High Handicap Golfers
Many golfers are high handicappers, and they too can benefit from using chipper golfer clubs.
If you are a high handicapper, you probably tend to add more sidespin on the ball, causing you to miss the green. This is likely to affect the quality of your game. And while your strokes can be improved with practice you may not have a lot of time or patience to improve your chipping skills. Using a chipper club could be a great investment for your game.
Other people who can benefit from a chipper golf club are:
- People who don’t like to use an iron but enjoy playing bump and run.
- People who constantly fat or thin their chips when using wedges.
- Players who enjoy using their putters when off the green more.
Who Should Avoid Getting a Chipper Golf Club
People who can do without using a chipper are:
By confident golfers, we mean golfers who fully believe in and completely control their wedge game when close to the green. Since the point of the chipper is to make this easier for you, it’s not necessary to get a chipper when you already have the game down.
Handicappers from 0-18 probably don’t have difficulty shooting in the 70s or 80s, so they hardly need a chipper. The essence of a chipper is to help you with your short game, but for people who have it down, using it may even mess with your rhythm and technique.
Professionally Committed Athletes
As much as we love chipper golf clubs, they are not the best if you want to get to the top of the game and be the best. You need to learn proper chipping and pitching techniques without shortcuts, and you may soon find yourself relying heavily on your chippers once you get them.
Instead, focus on learning to control your different wedges, shooting lower scores, and building a more consistent technique.
There’s no harm in learning to use a chipper – it can be a bonus for a pro – but relying on it too often may prevent you from reaching your full potential.
Other players who should avoid a chipper are:
- Players who enjoy imparting spin on the golf ball.
- Players who have more wrist and body control on the ball.
- Players who want to reach single figures or lower their score.
Is it Legal to Use a Chipper Golf Club?
Yes, it is legal to use a chipper golf club. Chipper golf clubs can be used during casual or professional games as long as it’s not a two-sided chipper and is not fitted with a putter grip.
Only a putter should have a putter grip. According to the United States Golf Association players Rule 4-1d, a clubhead should have ‘only one striking face except for putters with similar faces.’
Golfers can use putters and strike the ball with either of the identical faces. However, the Rules of Golf also clearly state that putters should only have 10 degrees of loft, and since chippers have about 30 degrees of loft on each face, two-sided chippers do not qualify under this exception. In this case, chippers are more similar to a 5-iron or 6-iron.
It is an automatic disqualification if a person is caught using a two-sided chipper. In the case of a team, the whole team is deemed disqualified; therefore, most brands now stamp their chippers with ‘USGA Qualified,’ making it easier for you to decide which club to purchase for your game.
However, some people still use two-sided chippers for recreational games to improve versatility. Apart from being able to perform chip shots with them, they also come in handy for obstacles that don’t allow you to handle the ball normally.
Still, many people frown on using them, even for recreational games. After all, games must conform to rules, otherwise using a badminton racket for a game of tennis would also fly. And it shouldn’t.
Are Chipper Golf Club Used in the PGA TOUR?
Chipper golfs are allowed on the PGA TOUR, but you probably won’t ever spot any pros using one.
According to the equipment FAQ on the USGA website, a golfer can only have 14 clubs in his bag in a playing round. This may consist of three wood planks, eight iron pieces, and a putter. The USGA classifies chippers as irons, so no putter’s grip is allowed on the chipper’s club, nor can you have a two-way chipper.
But generally, players on the PGA carry a driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 4-PW, gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge, and a putter.
Chippers give players less control over the ball’s spin, which is pretty important to pros. A professional golfer needs to be able to control the spin, flight, distance, and run of the ball when chipping, and this is something that iron or wedges allow better than chippers.
Also, chippers are better suited to high handicappers – some would even argue that they were designed specifically for high handicappers. As such, it’s rare to see top skilled professionals competing on the PGA TOUR with them. Most will rarely carry clubs that aren’t a necessity and there’s hardly enough space in a pro’s bag for all the clubs they would like to carry. So it’s rare to see anyone sacrifice space for a wedge with a chipper.
Top 5 Chipper Golf Club on the Market
If you are interested in getting yourself a quality chipper for greenside shots, here are the top five chippers on the market you can invest in.
Wilson has been in the game for more than 100 years, and it shows in this product. This chipper’s diameter is a bit larger than average and the shaft has a vertical seam grip, both of which makes it comfortable to hold. In addition, the chipper is made from alloy steel, and can hit between five and twenty yards from the green.
This club is legal for tournaments and is made for right-handed golfers. The Wilson Harmonized chipper comes at an affordable price, although it’s only manufactured for right-handed players.
- It has a 35-inch shaft.
- Has an alignment aid that’s easy to use.
It’s greatly forgiving of missed hits and has anti-rotational weighting, which allows it to stay square to the target line.
- It has an anti-chunk sole.
- Comes in 45°, 55°, or 60° angle loft options.
The Intech chipper is specifically designed for female golfers. This chipper has both left and right-hand models. It comes with a back weighted design that helps you manage your distance when putting. It also has a gooseneck hostel that helps to prevent shanking.
It is currently available in only one loft angle option.
- Comes with two alignment aids.
- The satin finish prevents sun glare.
This chipper is named after a highly successful golf player, Raymond Cook. The M1 model is made from alloy steel and has a 70° golf putter lie angle. It’s great for chipping short distances, especially in flat courses with tight lies.
The Ray Cook M1 is nice for shots around the edges, however, it may be difficult to control the rollout for longer shots. The clubhead is also a bit heavy, which some users may find uncomfortable.
- It has 37° angle of loft.
- It has a left-hand orientation
The Mazel Golf Chipper is a solid, traditional chipper. The clubhead is slightly heavy, but the overall finish is still light. It has a great center of gravity, a wide sole, and a good rubber grip. The Mazel also comes at an affordable price when compared to similar chippers of this quality.
- Comes in 35°, 45°, and 55° loft angle options.
- It has a blade-style putter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other questions that people interested in a chipper ask:
What is the best club to use for chipping?
There are many options, but the best clubs to use for chipping are your lob wedges. The 58-60° angle chipping wedge gives you additional loft degrees on the club, making it easier to pop the ball up from the turf and onto the green.
Lob wedges are especially useful if you are within three feet of the hole. You can add more backswing and power to your shot without worrying about overpowering it. For example, Phil Mickelson’s trademark flop shots are almost always done with a lob wedge.
Additionally, lob wedges are lighter, which makes hitting small dinks onto the greenway a lot easier. However, several other clubs can also work very well for tricky shots – consider the pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand wedge.
Can I putt with a chipper?
It’s not entirely impossible to putt with a chipper club. However, a chipper is far from the best option in the absence of a putter. A putter has about 2° – 5° angles of loft – this is much less than any chipper.
So, in the absence of your putter, it’s better to go for another club in your bag, such as a wedge.
What is an illegal golf club?
An illegal golf club is simply any golf club that the USGA has ruled out for use in tournaments. These clubs are not essentially bad or criminal, they just don’t conform to acceptability rules for professional players.
Should I use a chipper wedge or a putting wedge?
Both may be useful for your shots during a single round. The extra loft on pitching wedges will come in handy for parkland courses, especially chip and run shots. On the other hand, chipper wedges are excellent for hard-running courses. You can also use a 7-iron in this case.
What are the main differences between a chipper golf club and a wedge?
Wedges and chippers are built differently, although both serve similar functions. First, a wedge has a loft variation of 44° – 65°, while a chipper’s loft variation is between 30° – 37°. Although classified as iron by USGA, chippers work like a putter while wedges function more like your typical iron.
More importantly, wedges work best for long shots – from up to 140 yards – while chippers work best from a short distance of about 30 yards. So, chippers are best suited for the green side.
Chippers are excellent if you have had difficulty getting the ball to the green in tricky situations. The design of these golf clubs makes them easy to handle with minimal wrist control. Whether you are a high handicapper or a low handicapper, it can be useful to know how to play with a chipper club to add some versatility to your game.
Be sure to keep the rules of using a chipper club in mind when purchasing one. Beware of two-sided or putted chippers as they are not allowed in tournaments. When choosing a chipper, remember to consider all the factors, like whether it’s left-handed or right-handed and the loft height, before making your selection. Also, check for additional features that can improve your experience.
After your purchase, you’ll want to practice off course to give yourself time to get used to the unique build of your chipper. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about using a chipper just because no one else is. Use your club with pride and continue to work on your technique so you don’t become too dependent on it.
If you keep using your wedges and irons as much as possible, your skill level will improve and you’ll gain consistency in your center and distance shots. Stay the course and you’ll be golfing like a pro in no time!