Best Golf Chipper of All Time – Buying Chippers in 2024

Best Golf Chipper of All Time

In golf, the art of the chip shot is a pivotal skill, often making the difference between a successful round and one fraught with frustration. With the evolution of golf equipment and techniques, the humble chipper has emerged as a game-changing club. For amateur golfers seeking to enhance their performance around the greens, this is especially true. But which club is the best golf chipper of all time?

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the world of chippers and chip shots, exploring the nuances of the chippers, alternatives to a chipper, and why these could be a great club for your golf game. From understanding degrees of loft, to the significance of a wide soles, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the ultimate golf chipper for both beginners and seasoned players alike.

Unraveling the Mystery of Chip Shots: The Key to Short Game Mastery

Before delving into the intricacies of chipper clubs, it’s crucial to grasp the essence of chip shots and their significance in the game of golf. Unlike full swings with drivers or irons, chip shots require finesse, precision, and a deep understanding of club dynamics.

A chip shot is a short-range shot, designed to loft the ball onto the dance floor and roll it towards the pin. Chip shots are indispensable in navigating the intricacies of golf course terrain. While chips are short shots, they are not the easiest shot in golf!

Why are Chip Shots Difficult for Golfers?

Chip shots are difficult for golfers due to the combination of technical precision, variable turf conditions, psychological pressure, and the need for strategic decision-making. Mastery of chip shots requires dedicated practice, a deep understanding of short-game techniques, and the ability to adapt to ever-changing course conditions and scenarios. Most low handicap golfers will hit hundreds of practice chips each week in order to perfect and retain their skills.

There are several reasons chipping is hard:

  1. Short Distance, High Precision: Chip shots typically involve short distances from the green, requiring golfers to execute with pinpoint accuracy. Even slight misjudgments in club selection, swing speed, or angle of attack can result in significant deviations from the intended target.
  2. Limited Margin for Error: Unlike with a full swing, where minor imperfections can be compensated for by the club’s loft and power, chip shots leave little room for error. Mishits, fat shots, or thin shots can drastically alter the trajectory and distance of the ball, leading to unpredictable outcomes.
  3. Variable Turf Conditions: Golf courses feature a diverse range of turf conditions, from closely mown fairways to thick rough, and tight lies around the green. Each surface presents its own set of challenges, requiring golfers to adapt their technique and club selection accordingly. Aside from the length of the grass, a golfer must consider which direction it is growing in and how much moisture is present.
  4. Complexity of Short Game Techniques: Chip shots require a nuanced understanding of short-game techniques, including stance, grip, and weight distribution. Achieving the perfect balance between loft and roll, spin and release, is a constant challenge that demands patience, practice, and precision.
  5. Psychological Pressure: The proximity of the green and the anticipation of completing a hole can heighten the psychological pressure on golfers during chip shots. This added pressure can lead to tension in the swing, resulting in mishits or overcompensation that negatively impacts performance. One poorly played chip can sow the seeds of doubt for the rest of the round.
  6. Variety of Shot Options: Golfers often face a multitude of shot options when approaching the green, from bump-and-runs to high-lofted pitches and delicate flop shots. Choosing the right shot for the situation requires strategic thinking and a deep understanding of shot selection principles.
  7. Influence of External Factors: External factors such as wind direction, green speed, and pin placement can further complicate chip shot execution. Golfers must factor in these variables when assessing the risk-reward of their shot selection and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Chipping is one of the hardest skills in golf to master. It makes sense that a purpose built “chipper” could be a good idea.

What is a Chipper?

Chippers are speciality clubs designed to assist players in executing chip shots around the green. Unlike traditional irons or wedges, which are used for full shots from longer distances, the chipper is specifically engineered to facilitate short, controlled shots aimed at lofting the ball onto the green and rolling it toward the pin.

A chipper typically features a few distinguishing characteristics to make chipping easier:

  1. Fixed Loft Angle: Unlike wedges, which offer a range of loft options, chipper clubs usually have a fixed loft angle, typically ranging from 30 to 37 degrees. This consistent loft angle helps golfers predict the trajectory and roll of the ball more accurately, enhancing distance control and precision in chip shots.
  2. Wide Sole Design: Chipper clubs often feature a wide sole design, which helps to minimise turf interaction and prevent mishits. The wide sole provides greater stability and forgiveness, allowing golfers to make clean contact with the ball even from challenging lies or rough terrain.
  3. Putter-like Grip: Many chipper clubs are designed with a grip that mimics the shape and feel of a putter grip. This design element encourages golfers to adopt a putting stroke when executing chip shots, promoting a smooth, pendulum-like motion that enhances control and accuracy.
  4. Shorter Shaft Length: Chipper clubs typically have a shorter shaft length compared to traditional irons or wedges. This shorter length allows for greater control and precision in chip shots, as it encourages a more compact and controlled swing motion. Often a golfer will have their eyes more in line with the ball like on a putt, helping to line up the chip.

A chipper serves as a valuable tool in a golfer’s arsenal, particularly for shots where a high degree of precision and finesse is required around the green. Whether navigating tight lies, negotiating tricky slopes, or chipping from the rough, the chipper provides golfers with the confidence and capability to tackle short game challenges with ease and efficiency.

Choosing the Perfect Chipper: Key Considerations and Tips

6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Chipper

When embarking on the quest for the best golf chipper of all time, there are several factors to consider to ensure you find the perfect fit for your game. For further reading, you should look at our article; Things to Know Before Buying a Golf Chipper.

Here are some key considerations and tips to guide you in your search:

  1. Test Drive Before You Buy: Before committing to a purchase, take the time to test out different chipper clubs on the practice green. Most reputable golf shops will allow you to try each of their chippers in a practice area at the store. Pay close attention to how each club feels in your hands and how it performs in various chip shot scenarios. This hands-on approach will help you identify the chipper that best suits your playing style and preferences. Spend as much time as possible testing as many different chippers until you find the one that feels most natural to you. Feel how the golf ball comes off the club face and which club feels most natural.
  2. Evaluate Loft Options: While chipper clubs typically offer a fixed loft angle, some models may provide slight variations to accommodate different playing conditions and shot preferences. Chipper clubs loft typically fall within the range of 30 to 37 degrees. Consider the typical course conditions you encounter and choose a chipper with a loft angle that aligns with your needs for distance control and trajectory. Different lofts will suit different situations. If your course has small greens, a lot of steep hills or hard greens, more loft may be beneficial for you. If your usual courses have huge greens and are fairly flat then you may not need as much loft. In that case, you may consider a less lofted chipper, maybe nearer to 30 degrees.
  3. Evaluate Lie Angle: Most of the time the lie angle of a standard chipper will suit you. Because of the style of shot, most golfers will hold the club at the correct angle for the face. If you’re not average height though, it is worth checking the lie angle when hitting the ball. Too upright and the toe will dig in. Too flat and the heel will grab the grass. If this is the case, most club fitters will offer a service that can alter the lie angle to suit your needs. 
  4. Assess Sole Design: A defining feature of top-tier chipper clubs is their wide sole design. Unlike standard irons or wedges, chipper clubs have a broader sole that glides effortlessly across the turf. This minimises the risk of mishits and provides greater stability on impact. This wide sole design enhances forgiveness, allowing golfers to execute clean chip shots from a variety of lies and turf conditions. Whether navigating through thick rough or delicate fringe areas, opt for a chipper with a wide sole that offers stability and forgiveness on a variety of lies, ensuring consistent contact and trajectory on every chip shot.
  5. Seek Feedback from Experts: Don’t hesitate to seek advice from experienced golf professionals or club fitters when selecting a chipper. Their expertise can provide valuable insights into which club models align best with your skill level, playing style, and performance goals. Most in-store professional golfers will help to give you the best advice.
  6. Invest in Premium Quality: Remember, the best golf chippers are not just tools; they’re investments in your game. Choose chipper clubs from reputable brands known for their quality craftsmanship, durability, and innovation. Investing in a high-quality chipper will ensure that you have a reliable and effective tool for mastering chip shots for years to come. That said, very much like a putter, if it has a good feel, then it likely is right for you, regardless of the price. Cheaper chippers may not last as long, but you may be able to buy two for the price of one premium chipper! Ultimately premium looks will never trump premium feel, but premium clubs are likely to offer you better consistency with mishit strikes.

Are Chippers Legal in Golf?

🚨 Nee naw, nee naw, nee naw … there’s a golfer with a chipper on the course! Joking aside, yes chippers are legal in golf.

The two main governing bodies in golf are the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A). They have specific regulations that dictate the design and characteristics of golf clubs, including chippers. Provided a chipper conforms to the rules (most notably, club length and head size) then it will be deemed legal. By legal, I mean that it can be used in tournament golf without penalties or causing a golfer to be disqualified. Most golf chippers will conform to USGA rules and since the R&A are so closely aligned, this will also be the case outside of America.

Why do Some Golfers not like Chippers?

Opinions among golfers regarding the use of chippers exhibit a diverse spectrum, with some expressing reluctance or aversion towards their inclusion in their golf bag. As we say in the UK, chippers are “a little bit Marmite“. Here are several reasons contributing to this sentiment:

  1. Adherence to Tradition: A significant segment of golfers stick closely to conventional methods and equipment within the sport. For these individuals, the notion of employing a specialised golf club like a chipper may deviate from the core principles and techniques integral to the game’s essence. These golfers tend to prioritise reliance on traditional wedges and putters, considering them as the cornerstone for addressing all short game scenarios.
  2. Impact on Skill Development: Certain golfers perceive the use of chippers as a potential hindrance to the cultivation of crucial chipping skills. Mastery of these shots with traditional a pitching wedge, sand wedge, or putter, demands meticulous precision, delicate touch, and a profound comprehension of technique nuances. By resorting to a chipper, players might forego opportunities to refine these foundational skills through dedicated practice and on-course experience. Good golfers with an already tidy short game, may prefer to stick to tradition effectively allowing an extra club in the bag.
  3. Constraints in Versatility: Chippers are characterised by a fixed loft angle and are tailored to specific types of shots around the green. Although effective in designated scenarios, they may lack the adaptability and versatility offered by traditional wedges. Good wedges boast a diverse range of loft options and shot possibilities. Golfers valuing a comprehensive array of clubs for various situations might perceive chippers as a “waste” of a club in a bag if they can use more traditional clubs for the same purpose.
  4. Psychological Considerations: Some golfers encounter psychological barriers or social stigma associated with using chippers during gameplay. They may interpret resorting to such equipment as indicative of inadequacy or a shortfall in skill, thus harbouring concerns regarding their image or reputation on the course. Overcoming these psychological hurdles necessitates a shift in mindset and a willingness to prioritise performance and outcomes over external perceptions! Who cares what someone else thinks as long as you shoot low?!
  5. Personal Preferences: Ultimately, the acceptance or rejection of chippers among golfers boils down to individual inclinations and confidence levels. While certain players find solace and assurance in employing traditional wedges and putters across all short game scenarios, others perceive chippers as invaluable aids that optomise their performance and enjoyment on the course.

Despite the existence of divergent viewpoints, chippers remain a viable option for golfers aspiring to refine their short game and get the best result out of their chipping. The decision to incorporate a chipper into a golfer’s arsenal hinges upon individual preferences, playing style, and objectives. For me, I will put anything in the bag that I think will improve my score!

Alternatives to Chippers

A chipper is not the only solution. There are many different clubs and methods for chipping. Golfers suffering the chipping yips will likely have tried them all! There is no one right tool for chipping. Ultimately the right club for chipping is based on each golfer’s personal preference.

Alternatives include:

  1. Traditional Wedges: Golfers can opt for traditional wedges such as pitching wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges. These clubs offer a variety of loft options, allowing players to adjust their trajectory and spin to suit different chip shot scenarios. Traditional wedges provide versatility and precision, making them a popular choice among golfers seeking maximum control over their short game.
  2. Hybrid Clubs: Hybrid clubs combine the characteristics of irons and fairway woods, offering a balance of forgiveness, distance, and accuracy. Some golfers may prefer using regular hybrids for chip shots, especially from longer distances or when faced with challenging lies. Hybrid clubs can provide a higher launch angle and greater roll-out compared to traditional wedges, making them a viable alternative for certain chip shot situations.
  3. Mid-Irons: Golfers can also utilise mid-irons such as 7-iron or 8-iron for chip shots around the green. These clubs offer a lower trajectory and less spin compared to wedges, making them ideal for bump-and-run shots or when there is limited space between the ball and the hole. Mid-irons can be particularly effective on firm turf conditions where precise distance control is essential.
  4. Putter: In certain situations, golfers may opt to use a putter for chip shots, especially when dealing with a tight lie or closely mown area around the green. Using a putter allows golfers to keep the ball low to the ground and roll it smoothly towards the hole, minimising the risk of mishits or erratic ball flight. Putters offer simplicity and consistency, making them a reliable choice for short, straightforward chip shots.
  5. Adapting Technique: Rather than relying on specialised clubs, some golfers prefer to adapt their technique and use traditional clubs such as irons or wedges for chip shots. By adjusting their stance, grip, ball position and swing, golfers can achieve the desired trajectory and distance control without the need for a chipper. This approach emphasises skill development and versatility to create different type shots with clubs that are already in a golfer’s bag. Adapting techniques will need a lot of practice. Golfers looking for a “quick fix” may ultimately decide a chipper is the answer, even if only short term.

The Greatest Chipper of All Time. Who Is Paul Runyan?

Paul Runyan left an indelible mark on the world of golf, particularly in the realm of chipping. Born on July 12, 1908, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he emerged as a celebrated figure renowned for his exceptional short-game skills, with a particular focus on chipping and putting. Runyan’s prowess in this aspect of the game elevated him to the status of one of the greatest chippers in golf history.

Paul Runyan

At the core of Runyan’s chipping mastery was his innovative approach, honed through years of dedicated practice and relentless experimentation. Departing from traditional techniques that relied heavily on lofted wedges and full swings, Runyan introduced a groundbreaking method that emphasised the use of lower lofted clubs and adopted a putting-like stroke for chip shots around the green.

Among Runyan’s most influential contributions to chipping technique was his advocacy for the “chip and run” approach. Instead of opting for high, lofted shots with conventional wedges, he advocated for a more conservative strategy. This involved utilising clubs with less loft, such as a 5-iron or 7-iron, and allowing the ball to roll toward the hole after impact. By minimising the risk of mishits and providing greater control over distance and trajectory, this method proved highly effective for navigating tight lies and challenging greenside conditions.

Throughout his illustrious career, Runyan’s chipping prowess earned him a plethora of accolades and victories on the professional circuit. Notably, he clinched two PGA Championships in 1934 and 1938. In addition, he secured multiple wins on the PGA Tour and made memorable appearances at the Ryder Cup. Runyan’s innovative approach to chipping revolutionised the way golfers approached short game shots, leaving an enduring legacy as a pioneer in the art of chipping.

Beyond his accomplishments on the course, Runyan also made significant contributions to golf instruction. He generously shared his wealth of knowledge and expertise with aspiring players through clinics, instructional books, and videos. His invaluable insights into chipping technique continue to resonate with golfers of all levels, underscoring the lasting impact of his legacy on the sport.

The Universal Appeal of the Best Golf Chippers

The appeal of the golf chippers extends far beyond the professional circuit, resonating with golfers of all skill levels and backgrounds. Even legendary players like Tiger Woods have embraced chipper clubs as invaluable tools for mastering the short game and gaining a competitive edge on the course.

For amateur golfers and high handicappers, chipper clubs offer a potential user-friendly alternative to traditional wedges. With their intuitive design and forgiving nature, the best golf chippers empower players to tackle challenging lies and execute precise chip shots with confidence. The right chipper can be a game-changer for golfers at every stage of their journey.

Best Golf Chipper of All Time

The quest for the best chipper of all time continues to captivate players of every level. From the innovative design of the latest clubs such as the Ping Chipr, to the timeless appeal of standard wide sole chipper clubs, the options available in 2024 offer something for every golfer seeking to improve their short game and win more often.

Regardless of your skill level, the right chipper can be a game-changing addition to your bag. Chippers can provide precision, control, and confidence. By understanding the fundamentals of chip shot techniques, embracing cutting-edge technology, and selecting a chipper that suits your playing style, you can unlock your full potential and achieve success on the greens. Remember to explore your options, seek guidance from experts, and trust in the power of innovation and quality craftsmanship. 

Personally, the most important aspect of a chipper is feel. Great feel is imperative. For me, the best golf chipper of all time is … the Ping Chipr. I’ve tried tens of different chippers, but the Ping Chipr was the club that consistently gave me the best ball strike.

Rick Shiels Tests The Ping ChipR

I urge you to visit your local golf shop and try as many different chippers as possible before making your final decision. Ultimately, like me, you may find standard wedges and irons provide a better solution for you, but if you don’t try a chipper you’ll never know. I have lots of friends who swear by them and have seen huge gains in their game by using chippers.

There’s a good reason why millions of chippers have been sold across the world. A chipper could offer you a little more help than conventional clubs and might just be your secret weapon!

Bye for now!


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