What is a chipper?
A golf chipper is a club that has a similar head to a putter with a face that is lofted usually 30 to 37 degrees which is the same as most 7- and 8-irons. The length of the club is close to a putter at usually 35 inches. The chipper allows you to hit the ball with a putting stroke.
The club is designed to let you chip but give you a better feel and more control such like when you are putting. Because the chipper has a better lie angle and lets you place it flat on the ground on address, it is considered easier to hit than a high-lofted iron or wedge. A high-lofted iron or a wedge has a different lie angle and a higher likelihood of mishits such as hitting the ball fat, thin or off the toe. This results in poor contact and adds strokes to the scorecard.
Most chippers range from 33 to 48 inches and have standard putter or wedge shafts. Chippers are classified by the USGA as irons. Chippers can have standard grips or putter grips depending on preference.
Who should use a chipper?
Chippers can be used by any type of golfer but are recommended for a high to mid handicap player.If a player has trouble hitting wedges or short irons around the green then a chipper is ideal for them.
Having a more forgiving club around the green can help in difficult situations. When faced with a decent lie on the edge of the green, a player can use a chipper to run the ball up to the hole. Chippers are versatile and can even be used from to 30-40 yards if a player has a lot of green to work with.
The player can land the ball on the fringe or on the front of the green and let it release towards the hole which is commonly known as a “bump and run.”
Players who put too much loft on their chips and have distance control as well as contact issues with their wedges are ideal candidates for owning a chipper.
Are chippers legal in golf?
According to the USGA, chippers are legal in golf because they are classified as irons. In order to have a legal chipper in your bag, you cannot have a putter grip on the club nor have a two-way chipper. A two-way chipper has a club face on both sides of the head. The USGA considers a “long chipper” to be illegal, so the club has to be the length of a 7-iron to a putter.
If you are out on the course for fun and want to hit shots left or right-handed with a two-way chipper, then just make sure to take it out of the bag come tournament time.
A player caught with a two-way chipper in a tournament (stroke play or match play) will be disqualified, and if it’s a multi-team tournament such as a scramble, the entire group will be disqualified.
Golf Chipper VS A Wedge
Golf chippers and wedges are used for the same purpose but are completely different clubs. A golf chipper usually comes in 30-37 degrees and most wedges vary from 46 to 60 degrees.
There are different types of wedges including a pitching wedge, (46-50 degrees) a gap wedge, (51-54 degrees) a sand wedge, (55-57 degrees) and a lob wedge (58-60) degrees. Most wedges found on the market and in golfers’ bags feature the following degrees.
Pitching wedge: 47 degrees
Gap wedge: 52 degrees
Sand Wedge: 56 degrees
Lob Wedge: 60 degrees
Wedges feature blade-like club heads and faces and are meant for shots inside 130 yards. When hitting a wedge, golfers can take a full swing, half swing or short swing.
Wedges can be hit from any lie including in the deep rough or for high lofted shots below the hole on the bottom of a hill. Unlike wedges, chippers have a putter-like face and are meant to be hit with a putting stroke rather than a full or half-swing.
It is not recommended to use a chipper for a shot over a bunker or above or below the green such as at the top or bottom of a hill. Chippers also are not meant for hitting through deep rough.
Chippers are made to replicate a wedge’s results without having the risk of digging the club in the ground and mishitting it. They’re designed to be forgiving and easier to hit.
Out of the 14 clubs allowed in the bag by the USGA, a player should replace their least hit and most difficult wedge with a chipper.