Sunday, January 15, 2012

What is the difference between Pitching and Chipping?

There are in fact a number of differences between pitching and chipping. These relate to set up, loft, club selection and distance of shot.

The overall set ups are not the same. The chip shot requires the feet to be closer together, and the ball placed towards the heel of the right foot. Likewise, the pitch shot actually has the ball placed more centrally and a wider stance. The club is also gripped lighter with the pitch.

Also required with a pitch, is a more open stance. Usually this should be at an angle, while the chip shot stance has to remain square to the target line.

After this, the chip requires a smaller swing than the pitch shot. With a pitch shot, the swing also involves using your wrists and a lighter grip. With a chip, this is not so much the case.

Club selection for the chip shots can be more flexible. You can use irons to chip with, as well as the wedges. With pitching, the loft required for the shot only makes the wedge clubs suitable for the shot.

Because of this, the actual shots are not that similar. The chip will have far less loft, and will roll along the ground a good distance before stopping. In contrast, a pitch is entirely air-born, with far greater loft and very little roll on the ground. As such, the chip shot is shorter in distance than the pitch shot, which can be used beyond 50 yards.

The greater roll of the chip makes it ideal for a short shot onto the green from within 25 yards. Usually, when it touches the green, the ball will roll on the green towards the flag like a putt. Likewise, its more limited loft means it escapes the wind more easily than with a pitch shot.

Without a great deal of loft, however, it is no good if an obstacle is in the way like a bunker. Here, the loft of the pitch shot will clear it, and touch down on the green behind. This makes the pitch more useful for getting over other close obstacles also, like bushes.

The pitch is also good for escaping long grass. The steep swing and loft of the wedges will cut through the grass and scoop the ball back onto the fairway. Here, you can open up the club face also, which will increase the loft of the shot a little.

Overall, the pitch shot is more difficult to do accurately. With the wind blowing, getting the ball close the green can best be done with a chip shot. Even without, pitch shots can be less accurate. For this reason, it's always better to chip when possible.


Steve Young said...

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Jared said...

Really great post, Matt. A lot of people don't really understand the diference but it's great to find someone who can explain the difference between the 2.