Golf Swing Tips | How to Put Backspin on a Chip Shot Every Time

How to Put Backspin on a Chip Shot Every Time

One of the things that separates beginning golfers from more experienced players is that the more experienced players can hit the same shot(s) consistently. Any beginner can certainly hit an amazing golf shot now and then, but as a golfer improves it’s the consistency of their shots that lowers their scores. The title of this article is How to Put Backspin on a Chip Shot Every Time and its the “every time” part that’s important. Learning a new golfing technique is great, but as a beginner you also need to know how to repeat the motion over and over so that the outcome is the same.

Just as a quick review: Chipping is a crucial part of every golfer’s short game, which includes pitching, chipping, and putting. I just wrote a detailed tutorial about some pitching tips that can help improve your short game and in that tutorial I gave an overview of these three different facets of the short game and what defines a pitch shot from a chip shot from a putt.

How to Put Backspin on a Chip Shot Consistently – the Basics

If you’ve read my homepage about the beginner’s golf swing you know that – in my view – “how the club head impacts the ball determines everything” and that single quote is how I approach all of my golf teachings. Whether I’m trying to teach someone how to bomb the driver or how to put spin on their chip shots I always start with: How do we want the club to contact the ball? and What is the easiest and most repeatable swing for beginning golfers to accomplish this?

How to Put Backspin on a Chip Shot – Proper Set-Up

The setup dictates how the clubface should contact the ball and helps us visualize what the club head position should be at impact. Let’s take a look at the first image below:

putting backspin on chip shot - club face position

The first thing to notice is that this player has selected a club with a lot of loft! We want a club with a lot of loft because this will force the golf ball up immediately as soon as it comes in contact with the front edge of the club. In order to impart backspin to the golf ball, it is necessary to get under it. Choosing a club with a high loft angle – like a lob wedge – can make this goal easier to accomplish! This type of ‘lofted club’ will allow the face of the club to slide under the ball more easily and the grooves will ‘catch’ the underside of the ball and impart counterclockwise rotation (from our perspective viewing the image above) and this counterclockwise rotation is just another name for backspin. Does this picture give us a good visual of how we want the club face to look at impact? I think it does.

Golf Stance for Chipping with Backspin

Chipping is a very delicate part of the golf game. It requires a lot of finesse. The best stance when setting up for this type of chip shot is one that prevents a lot of body movement. This is not the time for a lot of rotation and we certainly don’t nproper stance for chip shoteed to use our power stance. Take a look at the golfer in the picture to the left. He is standing with his feet very close together, and notice the way his feet are angled away from the ball. By having his feet placed in this manner it forces his body to be open (or aiming towards the target). The golf alignment sticks demonstrate the open angle between foot placement and clubface/ball impact angle.

Hitting a Chip Shot with Backspin – the Swing

As the first image shows it is necessary to get the clubface underneath the ball so as you start your backswing, please keep in mind the swing thought of ‘club face slides beneath ball‘. Since chipping is a short-range tactic your backswing should be abbreviated. I never elevate my club head above my hips – and often not much higher than my knees –  during my back swing when hitting a chip shot.

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As we touched on already, the club should NOT come down at a steep angle, but should remain open and in a position to slide under the ball. The golf stance demonstrated in the second image helps ensure the club angle is not a steep angle, but open. As you take your backswing you can hinge your wrists. What this means is that, unlike a full swing where you would want very little wrist movement, for a chip shot a lot of the swing comes from the wrists.

As you begin your downswing, your wrists should now hinge in the other direction. You want to use minimal arm movement, almost no body rotation, and hinge your wrists. (Note: Some beginning golfers prefer to use a putting stroke when chipping). As the clubhead contacts the ball, try to bounce the back of the club on the ground. This should be relatively easy, as long as you keep the club face as open as we discussed above because the rear of the head should be about parallel to the ground.

Hitting a chip shot requires finesse, a very short backswing, hinged wrists, think quick and through and underneath, and make sure to follow-through!

Check out the golf video below which demonstrates the concepts we discussed above and shows how to put backspin on a chip shot – and on pitch shots and bunker shots – in greater detail.  Keep reading the rest of the article after you’ve watched the golf tutorial video below and we’ll discuss another tip that’s ONLY in the video.

I hope that you enjoyed the video even though it didn’t only talk about using backspin on chip shots, but covered a few different shots and how to get the maximum spin on the ball every time.

BONUS VIDEO TIP

Use a ball with a soft cover because this will allow the grooves of your wedge to catch and ‘dig in’ to the golf ball more, which will impart greater rotation (i.e. spin!). What a cool tip that I hadn’t even thought of myself until I watched the video.

Let’s Recap

I know we went over a lot in this golf tutorial about putting backspin on a chip shot, but here are the main takeaways that I want to leave you with:

1 – Choose a club with a lot of loft (pitching wedge is ok, but for chip shots I like something with more of an open face or more ‘loft angle’ as the pros say. I usually use my sand wedge, lob wedge or a 63-degree wedge)

2 – Set-up with your feet close together, your stance open, and the clubhead in the position to slide underneath the golf ball.

3 – Your backswing should be abbreviated (short), using your wrists to swing the club back and then forward.

4 – Your downswing should start with your wrists, as well, and remain open through the shot. It should be relatively quick and through the ball.

5 – The club face should contact the bottom of the ball, which you can accomplish by visualizing the rear of the club head ‘bouncing’ on the ground.

6 – Your follow through can end higher than your backswing – and most often will – as this will impart maximum spin unto your chip shot.

7 – Choose a golf ball with a soft cover as the grooves of your sand or lob wedge will catch the dimples of the ball better and increase the rotation – or spin – of the ball

Well, that’s all for this golf lesson. Whether you are a beginning, intermediate, or expert golfer, I hope that you’ve been able to find something useful and actionable here. As always, Happy Golfing!

 

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