Are Chippers Legal in Golf in 2024?

The legality of golf clubs only matters to those playing in events or tournaments. However, as a golf traditionalist, I prefer to play with legal equipment that preserves the game’s traditions. 

A golf chipper is a popular short game tool for higher handicappers and beginners. The effectiveness of the chipper is quite impressive, and I’ve recommended their use to many students. 

Let’s look at what sets a legal chipper apart from an illegal one and how you can make the right decision for your golf game. 

Also Read: 7 Best Illegal Golf Drivers

Is A Chipper Legal In Golf? 

Is A Chipper Legal In Golf

A chipper is a legal golf club that all players have access to. The reason that chippers are legal is that they are built as a wedge and not a putter. There are two important features to a chipper that helps them remain legal: 

  • The chipper must not have a putter grip instsalled
  • Only golf clubs with one face are considered legal 

Essentially as long as you put a traditional iron grip on your chipper, and it only is a one-sided chipper, then you are free to use it. One of the exciting things about chippers is that Ping just brought a brand new option to the market. 

For several years, Cleveland had been the main provider of chipper-style wedges, but with this Ping release, more and more golfers are considering putting a chipper in the bag. 

Also Read: 7 Best Golf Putters On The Market

Is A Chipper Useful In A Competition? 

Is A Chipper Useful In A Competition

Knowing that a chipper is legal, you may now want to consider if this is a good fit for your golf game. A chipper can be very useful in competition for a few reasons; the key here is always going to be more forgiving. 

Forgiving 

When playing in a competition, you will always want the advantage of forgiveness. A forgiving club makes it possible to slightly miss the center of the clubface yet still have a clear approach to the hole. Forgiving golf clubs should always be used by the mid to high handicappers that find the clubs to be useful and effective. 

Holds Up Well Under Pressure

If you are nervous about a tournament situation, the chipper can help you contain your nerves and still hit a great shot. The club is one that many golfers trust as they don’t have to worry about hitting a shot fat or skulling it across the green. 

Simplified Movements 

The chipper requires a very simple movement of the golf club’s back and through the ball. Simply take a putting-type stroke, and that is all you will have to do to see the results from a golf chipper. 

When can I use a golf chipper? 

When can I use a golf chipper

Knowing when to use it is the key to finding success with a golf chipper. Hitting a full-swing golf shot with a chipper is not a good idea. The club is a bit too heavy, and the results will not be what you expect. This is for short shots around the green where you need a simple, easy-to-hit golf shot. 

Approach To A Green From 20 Yards And In 

It makes sense to consider using the chipper when you have less than 20 yards into the hole. The chipper is not a long-hitting wedge, and it should not be swung with a full golf swing shot. The 20 yards and in the distance is about what you want from this lower lofted wedge. 

As you get further from the hole, consider a golf club with a higher loft to get the landing you need on the green. 

Small Chip From Fringe

From the fringe, a chipper is a perfect club to use. This is a golf shot I have always used my pitching wedge for. However, some higher handicappers or beginners struggle to get the proper distance control with their pitching wedge. 

With the chipper in place, you can create a simple movement like a putting stroke and pop the ball to the spot on the green with ease. This small chip from the fringe is made easier by the forgiveness in the chipper. 

Pin In The Back Of The Green 

If you miss your approach shot slightly and end up in the front of the green instead of the back where the pin is, the chipper can be a great solution. This is a situation where you are already rather close to the hole; the last thing you want is to hit your shot over the green and further from the pin. 

Simply take a short chipper shot and let the ball roll across the green to the pin. 

Also Read: Best Golf Chippers in 2022

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a chipper? 

Now that you understand when to use a chipper, it’s a good idea to know why it’s a helpful club and where you may struggle with some of its features. Here are the most important advantages and disadvantages of using a chipper:

Advantages

Simplified Golf Stroke

Simplified Golf Stroke

The chipper allows a golfer to take a simplified golf swing and get positive results. With the chipper, you don’t need a large motion, simply take a putting stroke with this slightly lofted club, and it should land softly on the green with plenty of control. 

Very Forgiving

With the chipper being designed more for a higher handicapper or beginner, most of the options on the market are very forgiving. Expect that the golf club will perform more consistently than other wedges in the bag. The chipper is an intelligent choice for golfers who struggle with things like distance control and consistency. 

Easy To Learn Distance Control 

Since the motion involved with hitting a chipper is so simple, it is very easy to learn distance control. Simply learn how to do this by taking different size swings and seeing the length of the shot they result in. The longer swing should result in a longer chip shot. 

Disadvantages

Very Low Spin

It’s hard to get a chipper to stop on the green. This is a club that does a better job of rolling towards the intended target. For those trying to get the ball to spin and check up in a particular spot, the chipper is likely not the best option. Instead, look for a higher lofted wedge with impressive spin characteristics. 

Not A Good Option For Full Approaches To The Green 

Don’t take a full golf swing with a chipper. The club is actually a bit heavier than other wedges as it helps players to keep it grounded and in control the entire time. If you end up taking a full swing, you may not get great club head speed, and the result could be a lower line drive type shot that goes through the green. 

Not Good Out of Bunkers

Not Good Out of Bunkers

Although the chipper can be used from a bunker with a low lip, this is not the percentage shot when hitting out of a bunker. Instead, you will want to choose something with considerably more loft and bounce. Some golfers have learned a bunker shot that incorporates the chipper, but it is certainly not a standard method that you can count on. 

Who Should Play With A Chipper? 

The chipper is typically designed for higher handicappers and beginners. Golfers still working on the fundamentals of their short game will enjoy what the chipper has to offer. If you dread having to take out your wedge and you want a simple and legal solution to change your game a bit, the chipper could be a good choice. 

Also Read: Best Illegal Golf Balls

Frequently asked questions

We only get 14 clubs in our golf bag under the USGA rules of golf. Therefore it makes sense to carefully consider which of these clubs are worth adding to the golf bag. 

Are Golf Chippers Frowned Upon?

Chippers are frowned upon sometimes because they can almost seem like a gimmick. However, this is a completely legal golf club, and even some of the biggest manufacturers in the game are using the chippers. 

Can You Use A Chipper On The Green?

The chipper is not intended to be used on a green; instead, you can use it on the fringe and then use the putter when on the green. Golf courses typically frown upon wedges being used on the green because of the damage they can do. 

Do Pros Use Golf Chippers?

Professionals are not currently using a chipper, mainly because the spin rates on this club are too low. The low spin rates will cause the ball to roll through the green and make its way across without the control that professionals need. 

Golf Chipper Vs. Wedge: Which Is Better?

The golf chipper and golf wedge are both great solutions for players. Higher handicappers and beginners tend to have luck with the chipper as it can help teach the fundamentals and importance of chipping. 

Conclusion 

We hope you now feel more confident in what a chipper is, why it is legal, and whether or not it is a club, you should put in your bag this year. With Ping releasing the new ChipR, it’s hard to deny that this technology is anything but great. Keep this golf club in mind if you are struggling with chipping and pitching and want a unique solution to the issue.

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