Chipping or Pitching?

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Author Description

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

21 Responses to “Chipping or Pitching?”

  1. September 1, 2012


    Hi Paul
    1. I presume, in this video, the green was relatively flat. What if one has to chip up or down a slop?
    2. Does one have to always chip the ball on to the green even when the approach to the green is closely cut?
    3. At what distance from the green should one use a normal grip instead of a 3 knuckle left hand grip?

    • Paul Wilson

      September 1, 2012

      Paul Wilson


      1. If you are chipping on an upslope or downslope you add or subtract a club or 2 depending on the slope.

      2. You can putt if you would like. If you want to hit this shot make sure you are practicing it.

      3. You use a normal grip when you are pitching. Anytime you are chipping you use the strong grip.

  2. October 10, 2012


    I am still trying to understand when to use which clubs for the ratios for chipping and pitching. I understand when the flight distance is shorter than the roll. I don’t understand when the flght is longer than the roll except to use a pitch shot to get the ball higher and shorter. The distances to the front of the green are generally longer than from the front of the green to the hole as our greens are fairly small. I have trouble applying the formulas when the ball is between 20 and 40 yards (paces) to the green and the hole is 5 paces (the 1 inside the green plus 4 more. Help please.

    Also where do you cover the chip shot that we should try to use consistently when we change clubs? That was probably way back and I missed it.

    The same is true for the pitching shot. When to we change clubs for the basic pitching shots?

    • Paul Wilson

      October 11, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      June, you are hitting the ball higher so it does not roll as far. You measure the distance to the front of the green. If this is 20 yards and the pin is 20 yards on the green you are chipping. This means you are playing the ball back. You are doing a longer backswing with this technique to get the ball onto the green. Then it will roll 20 yards. If the pin is 10 yards on the green you are pitching so it does not roll too far. This is really all you have to know. You hit the ball higher so it does not roll as far. Then get used to pitching so you know how far you need to hit the ball.

      The problem is you are gauging roll on pitch shots. You do not do this. The ratio tells you when to pitch is did not tell you how much roll you are going to get. This will vary due to the lie, contact, ball you are using etc. My ball is going to go up and stop quickly. Yours may not. So watch your shots and the height. Then estimate how much roll for the distance you hit the ball. Then apply this when you are pitching this distance. If you don’t want the ball to roll as far you can open the face and hit a flop shot.

      Here is the chipping technique:

      Chipping Technique:

      Go the red nav bar above and search chipping. There are a bunch of other tips on how to practice etc. that you should watch.

  3. November 5, 2012


    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for this video, just a quick question regarding how you would adjust your chipping/pitching swing to get the right distance to the front of the green. In your video, you talk about having a fixed ratio of 1:1 for the sand wedge (1:2 for pitching wedge etc). how do I adjust the stroke so that I can use the sand wedge when I am 15 paces away (and the pin is 15 paces to the front of the green), as well as when I am 3 paces away (and 3 paces from FOG). To get the longer yardage, do I simply increase my back swing so that my hands go past my back leg?

    Many thanks,


    • Paul Wilson

      November 5, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Tim, You are going to take a longer backswing to hit the ball on the front of the green. Just focus on the front and practice hitting the front. There is no special way to do it other than practice. A little longer backstroke will allow you to do this.

  4. December 29, 2012


    When chipping from a tight lie, I am fearful that the bounce on a sand wedge may have less margin for error, causing more shots to be “bladed.’ Is the answer “practice, practice, practice?”

    BTW, I asked how far your tee shots go with a driver with the effortless swing you demonstrate in these tips. Then I forgot which tip I was looking at when I asked the question. :-) I’ll remember this time.

    I imagine that there are many pros out there that know the swing like you do, but very few that can express it in a way that so many can understand. Thank you.


    • Paul Wilson

      December 31, 2012

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like the tips. Thanks for the feedback.

      If you are thinking chipping not pitching a tight lie should not be a problem. This is because the weight should be 70% on the forward foot throughout the stoke. If so, the club should hit the ball first then enter the ground. This action would not cause you to hit behind the ball so your contact should be okay. If you have a half decent putting stroke your chipping should be good too. Just go through the steps and you practice, practice practice.


      How to Chip:

      How to Practice:

      There are a bunch more chipping videos searchable through the red navigation bar at the top of the page.

      If you were talking about pitching you should be hitting a knock down shot from a tight lie.


      Shot: How To Hit From Hard Pan:

      I fly it usually between 260 and 280. With good roll 300+.

  5. Paul,

    I know you haven’t yet, but can you at least post the ratios for pitching?

    I understand 1,2,3 mph belly button. I understand position 1 = butt to target, 2= butt to ground and 3=full swing. So with that Lob Wedge and 10yds = pos 1, speed 1 20yds = 1,2 30yds=2,2?

    Then repeat for 40,50 and 60yds? e.g. SW at 40yds= pos 1, speed 1 50yds=1,2 and 60yds=2,2?

    70,80,90 PW 1,1 1,2 2,2?

    Anywhere close?

    I’m guessing here and a few of my playing partners wished I had not learned this as it is VERY precise and I can really execute it. I’m not always sure when under 120 yds which is a full PW for me.

    I just need to commit the positions/speed to the club and distances so I’m not guessing. Is all of this in your video on Pitching? Can you point me to it so I can buy it? I won a little $$$ and can spend it wisely… ;->)



    • Dan,

      You have 3 different backswing lengths and 3 speeds(slow, med and fast). This gives you 9 shots. If you are using lob wedge or you are inexperienced you do 3 different backswing lengths and 2 speeds (slow and fast). This gives you 6 shots.

      In your description pos. 1 and speed 1 would be 10 yards.

      This is in the pitching video which is part of the short game series. You can find it here:

      Just scroll down and you will see it.

      Just use the code on the members page for 25% off.


  6. Thanks Paul!!!!

  7. Thanks ,Paul for this luminous session on chipping and Pitching .
    You should also say it’s easier to judge distance when chipping ,the Roll is more consistent ,and ,most important ,chipping is more safe and reliable than Pitching ,less risks to blade the ball and have flying over the green .
    Are you going to cover the chip and run or pitch and run so useful on hard courses ,not watered enough,which minimise risks when approaching from far out ,with n

    • Raymond,

      For the most past I have said what I need to say about chipping and pitching. If you are on a harder surface adjust the ratio.

      I may add to these in the future the things I have not mentioned but I want you doing these techniques only.

      The chip and run is exactly what I described. You chip it and it runs the correct ratio for the club. Pitching you are hitting it higher and it does not run as far.

  8. Hi Paul,
    Fully understand the ratio method when applied to standard chips and when the landing area is ALWAYS one yard from the front of the green.
    Would it be fair to say that that you would “pitch” the ball in all cases when the ratio would be LESS than 1 : 1, say,for instance 1 : 0.5. That is to a close pin position when the carry distance is twice as much as the required roll.
    The choice of “pitch” would then be the modified chip shot,( ball moved forward to middle of stance to increase loft to obtain more height ant less roll) OR the standard pitch shot technique.
    I was not sure which club you were using in this video but I am sure it must have been your sand wedge. Is this correct ?
    So in this type of situation ( when the carry distance exceeds the roll required ) there is no set rules as such it is a question of getting out there and practising pitching and recording the various carry and roll distances.
    In some cases would you abandon the one yard landing area on the
    green when the pin is towards the back and land your ptch towards the centre of the green. What I am really asking Paul, is the one yard landing area on the green just appliccable to chipping ?
    Thanks once again


    • Alan,

      Yes, you pitch the ball when you are less than a 1:1 ratio. I prefer the pitching technique. I only included the other because the short pitch is tricky and takes practice (I actually forget I even mentioned it until I watched that tip again).

      I was using a 56 degree Sand Wedge. You can use a SW or LW.

      There are no set rules other than my short pitching technique backswing length and rotational speed of the body which I talked about last week. You hinge, you turn that is all there is too it. You need to get the ball on the front of the green. So you measure that yardage and apply the proper swing to hit the ball that far.

      I always try to hit the ball on the front of the green. It is much closer to you so the shot is easier. If I was hitting a knock down shot I may fly the ball farther on the green but in this case I need enough green to roll the ball to the hole. This is just an easy shot to hit this is why I play it a lot.

  9. HaroldBaldock

    September 22, 2013


    I am not as consistent with sand wedge and chipping so have been substituting pw. Is that ok?

    • Paul Wilson

      September 22, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Do pros pitch with a pitching wedge not a sand or lob wedge? No … so you shouldn’t either. If you cannot hit your sand wedge you need to figure out what you are doing wrong and start practicing until you are good at it. Remember, you only have one swing. The clubs are shorter or longer with more or less loft. If you cannot hit a certain club you are either changing your swing, your swing is not good enough or it is a mental problem. So stick with it. Watch my pitching tips and learn how to use our SW.

  10. HerminioDiaz

    September 24, 2013


    Hello Paul, in your video as you were getting farther away from the green you used a wedge but did not identify which one. I assume it was a sand wedge?

    • Paul Wilson

      September 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I only use a 56 degree sand wedge. You can too or use a lob wedge if you like.

  11. August 22, 2014


    Paul in the video where you are using a 9iron for a 3-1 ratio could you change your landing spot and stick with the sand iron for a 1-1 ratio? Wouldn’t we be safer choosing a landing spot urther into the green insuring that we will be putting our next shot?

    • Paul Wilson

      August 22, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Keep in mind I am talking and trying to hit shots. Also, keep in mind I am keeping the ratios in mind and found a spot where I could hit to all 3 pins. Anywhere, withing about 1 yard onto the green is good. Tonight’s tip explains it and how you should be working on it.

      You need to get the ball on the front of the green. How are you going to hit it 7 yards onto the green to get the right ratio? Good luck. Why not just hit it a yard or two and get it on the green. Then allow it to roll to the hole. This is the whole point of chipping. You are chipping because you can’t putt. So you get the ball over the long grass onto the green as soon as possible. Any other way and you have to practice too much.

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