Chipping or Pitching

By | on March 18, 2016 | 55 Comments | Array


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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+

55 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?

    • 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?

    • 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,


    • 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.


    • 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. Avatar photo

    September 22, 2013


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

    • 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. Avatar photo

    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?

    • September 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


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

      • February 22, 2022


        Is it a major difference if we are using a 54 sand wedge?

        • The 54* wedge would go slightly higher and shorter, there is a small amount of difference between them. Try them both out while chipping and you will see that the PW will run more.

  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?

    • 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.

  12. Hi Paul,
    Your techniques are really helping me to improve my game, especially the short game. You make things appear so effortlessly that I often wondered why I didn’t get it right away. What I’ve found is one crucial aspect that’s not always mentioned, but surely helped me with your chipping and pitching techniques. Maybe you have a tip on your site but I wanted to tell you anyway. A slight, but very important acceleration is needed to perform the pitching and chipping techniques effectively. After I figured it out I’ve become so much more confident over those pitches and chips. It has made all the difference for me, so I thought others would find it useful as well. The simple thought process of keeping me head down and accelerating is key for me.
    Thanks for all your tips, techniques and teaching.

    • Charles,

      Glad you are seeing improvement and glad you like the tips.

      The short game is a very important part of the game. Not only does it help you make up for your mistakes but it also takes pressure off your long game.

      Acceleration may be needed but if you are chipping like putting then you would be accelerating. I may put this on the list to do the future.

      With pitching I am using my body rotation so the club would be accelerating. Not sure I want to tell people to do this on pitching. Isn’t everyone already trying to accelerate when hitting the ball? It’s not getting them very far. With pitching everyone need to loosen up and let he arms follow but have enough rotation to accelerate the club.

  13. Avatar photo

    April 28, 2015


    Can I ask if I am 30 yards from the pin does that mean I carry it 10 and roll 20

  14. Hi Paul,

    Do chipping ratios apply in reverse to pitching ? In other words, 1:2 air to roll for chipping is 2:1 for pitching? Great short game lessons, thank you!

  15. Avatar photo

    December 14, 2015


    This has been the missing piece of the chipping/pitching puzzle for me for the longest time. Thank you for explaining this so well. I have never seen this explained anywhere before, and it even took me four months of being a member here to come across it. This is really going to help my mental short game too, as it takes much of the confusion regarding what-is-what. So gratefull. Going to watch this another time or two, and then out to practice it all. Nice!

  16. A very fine and useful “refreshing course ” on chipping and short pitching .I notice That the top players in the évents I Watch on the TV very often fly the ball high évén when they are near the Green ,in places I personnally would chip .PHIL MICKELSON is one of
    t hem .if you favor one spécific club ,for example the SW or Lob wedge ,and exercize offen with it ,you may also not wish to follow ” the rule ” and pitch or chip with it .I have two ” favorite ” clubs ,the 10 ( PW ) and 11!( GW= Gap wedge ) which I use in most of the cases .When I’m close to the fringe évén within putting distance ,I invariably use the 7 Iron .I don’t Like putting from off the Green while I see so Many people ,évén high rated Pro’s putting from off the Green .You never Knowl how the grass Will react to the roll of the ball when it’s not cut very short .

    • March 20, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      They are usually doing this because the rough is thinker. I chip it any time I can. Much easier.

  17. June 15, 2016


    So you should always try to land the ball on the front of the green no matter if you are pitching or chipping? I understand the chipping part and landing it on the front of the green and using different clubs for roll. I guess I am uncertain on how the pitching works with the roll out. Say I have 40 yards to fly and the pin is 10 yards from the front, leaving a 4:1 ratio…. are you just using a sand wedge and adjusting distance no matter what the ratio is for pitching? If not what what are the ratio’s for each club while pitching? thanks. -Jason

    • Jason,

      No. You would land the ball on the front with chipping because you are trying to use the loft fo the club to roll the ball to the hole. Pitching you are leaving enough room to the pin for roll. Out of the fairway with a nice tight lie I would leave about 5-10 yards because the ball will check. If you were in longer rough or not a tight lie I would leave 10-15 yards for roll. This means you go to the flag add your roll yardage then pace back to your ball. Or go pace from you ball to the green remembering to add enough room for roll.

      If you only have 5 yards and you are in rough you would be hitting a flop shot to hit it higher and hot get as much roll.

      Hopefully, you know all of these shots.

  18. July 7, 2018


    Paul, do the ratios apply regardless of green speed?

  19. August 5, 2018


    Hi Paul,
    I sometimes need to chip onto the green from a slope which can be rather steep in fairly thick grass. I looked for a video for this but cant find one. Weight distribution is going to have to be different to what you suggest for a normal chip I think, and I find its easy to bury the club in the slope and not get the ball out. The other result is to over-hit to the other side of the green.
    Do you have some ideas to share please?
    Many thanks!

    • Avatar photo

      August 6, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      I don’t have this shot as we don’t have a scenario like this on our chipping green.

      You need to watch this tip (bad audio):

      Pop Shot:

      This tip is uphill but might help too.
      Playing Lesson – Severe Uphill Pitch From Long Rough:

      Downhill you would play the ball back. Also, understand that depending on the severity of the slope it will take loft off of your club. This means it will take off low and roll more. You might want to open the face to counteract the delofting.

  20. August 29, 2018


    Ok, so if the second number in the ratio is equal/bigger (1/1, 1/3, etc.) chip it with the corresponding club. If the first number is bigger (2/1, 4/1, etc.) pitch it with the right technique.

    My question is, What’s the difference between using my sand wedge to chip it half way to the hole versus using a 9-iron or 8-iron to roll it most of the way? Is there an advantage to just chipping it onto the front of the green and letting it roll instead of chipping it half way to the hole with a sand wedge?

    Thanks much for all your help!

    • Avatar photo

      August 29, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      The difference is thousands of hours of practice. Why not learn one technique (similar to putting) that his the ball a few yards. Then you choose the right club to make it roll the correct distance. Much easier.

      So now, think about chipping/pitching it halfway to the whole. What if you don’t hit the spot? Takes practice to land it perfectly where you want. What if it checks up? Or doesn’t check? Into the wind, sidewind etc. What if you take a break for 3 weeks? If so, you will loose your touch.

      So hopefully now you make the right choice. This took me all of 2 weeks to master. I still have it and I never practice.

  21. November 20, 2018


    Hello Paul,

    If one hits the chip from the middle of the stance are we still holding the club in a four knuckle grip?



  22. i have used the chipping and pitching tips and have improved a lot. i have not mastered the sand shots nearly as well. if the lip on the sand trap is not to high,i am using your methods for pitching out of the trap and that works much better for me. the ball gets up and the distance is much better for me. what is the downside of doing this out of traps seems i can better dial in the distance

    • John,

      Sand is easy. Open the face. Dig your feet in. Aim left. Do your normal swing. It is that simple. Problem is, people keep whacking the ball. Get right through it and the ball will pop right out. Then very the face angle for height.

      So doing my pitching technique is right in line with that. Hinge … turn. That’s it.

  23. July 17, 2019


    Great tip Paul. This really works Paul. Chipped in twice last time I played! Once to save par and the other for birdie. I love the fact that there is no guessing in your method. Look forward to your tips everyday

    • Rod,

      Very good. I remember the days when I actually practiced the short game. Great feeling when you can get it up and down. Kind of like cheating.

      Thanks for the support.

  24. July 4, 2020


    Hi Paul,

    Thanks everything you say always turns out to be true. Sometimes it takes me a while to truly get it and then it always works. Amazing 😉 So thank you! (I call you the Oracle for this reason) Quick question, when you adjust the ball forward from back toe position to get more loft in a chip and less roll, how will that impact you ratio calculation if your still hitting 1 yard on to the green? Thanks! Larry

    • I do not do that, if you want a shot to start going higher, you would start to look at the pitching technique. With chipping, you are basically hitting a putt and just making the golf ball jump over the longer grass. Playing the ball back in the stance gives you the descending blow needed to hit a good chip shot. If you want to try it out in other areas of stance, that is ok, but remember when you don’t play the ball back in your stance then you will not get the descending blow needed to give you good chipping contact. Check out these tips:

      When To Pitch:

      Chipping Technique:

  25. July 6, 2020


    Hi Paul thank you that helps! I was also really curious about the modified chipping position that you talk about briefly in the video (and another one) about bringing the ball closer to the middle of the stance instead of your back toe which gives the club a hair more loft then if its leaning all the way to the outside of the front leg of your normal chipping technique. After experimenting on the green with your modified technique, I am finding it works great if your in between ratios such as 1.5:1 or 3.5:1 etc or just a hair of a down slope situation instead of hitting another club harder or softer. Was that why you came up with the modified option? Thank you your normal chipping technique works every time and seems like this just adds an extra tool so thanks again!

  26. August 18, 2020


    You are chipping with different club depending on the distance to the flag. When pitching you use different speed of your body to dial in the distance with a sand wedge. Could you not use one swing with your body and instead charge your club to a lower lofted club (pitch ,approach wedge 60 wedge) to hit it longer or shorter?

  27. Paul, do you consider the gap wedge in your ratios. I have a 54 sand and my pitch is 47. I do have a 50 gap. Do you consider to use the 1:2 ratio with the gap? Or do I have to use the pitch even with the stronger loft?

    • Try both and see what works best for you. There is such a small difference between the 2 lofts that it probably wouldnt make a huge difference of how far the shots go. I like using my gap wedge for the looks of it when chipping. This is a personal preference.

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