What's the difference between chipping and pitching and how can you improve these shots? PGA Coach Samantha Head is here to explain.

Your short game is hugely important and if you spend extra time working on it, you’ll see a quick improvement to your scores. It’s essential to have a simple technique but also a plan for every type of shot you are about to play.


A chip shot has less air time and more roll, therefore, it is important to decide if it is the correct shot to play. This sounds like a basic thought process, but many golfers play a chip without thinking, and they end up kicking themselves once they have played the shot, and ultimately ruining it!

Set-up: Keep your feet narrow with your weight favouring the foot closest to the target. This will help the club lean forward, which creates a steep angle of attack.

Grip down the club to decrease the speed in the swing, giving you more control. Stand closer to the ball and bring your lead foot back slightly. This will:

  1. Create more space through the ball
  2. Counteract gripping down the club

No wrist break

Create a V in your arms and maintain this throughout the swing to help keep your wrists quiet. Take the club away without breaking your wrists. This will help the club to come back square at impact, creating a centred strike on the clubface.

If you break your wrists there is more opportunity for the clubface to be at different angles at impact, resulting in fat or thin shots.

Think shoulder high

Think of chipping as upper body movement. The left shoulder (for a right-handed golfer) is moving high through the ball. This will also generate a feeling of ‘holding the club off’ as you make the follow through. The creation of the arms being an extension of the club is another way this can be felt

Don't always use the same club

For a sharp and consistent short game, learn to play with different clubs. If you can pick a consistent landing spot, two paces onto the green and consistently land the ball there, it teaches you a reliable and dependable swing.


Pitching is similar to chipping, albeit a longer swing. Pitching is defined as more air time than roll, thus being a longer shot that requires more speed than a chip.

SH Pitching set up

Set-up: Compared with a chip shot, at set-up your feet should be slightly wider and squarer to the target. This is because the swing is longer; there will be more speed through the ball and the need for a solid base.

Backswing and follow through - it's a match!

The backswing determines the length of the shot, therefore it is important to know your yardages. This can be achieved at the range or an indoor simulator.

The follow through is also similar to chipping; however, you should match the length of your backswing with your follow through and feel (the same as chipping) that your arm is an extension of the club.

Another good swing thought when you pitch is to feel the butt of your club hugging your left pocket (right-handed golfer).

To find out more about PGA Coach and six-time tour winner Samantha Head please visit her website here or follow on social media on Instagram @samanthaheadgolf or Twitter @natural_golfer.

The above Instruction article was taken from the May/June 2019 issue of Women & Golf magazine.

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