Why Are Chippers Frowned Upon in Golf?
Chippers are a handy club for those wanting to execute short shots, and while used by amateurs and pros alike, their use is widely frowned upon in the golfing community.
Discover where this bias comes from and how to overcome it the next time you’re out on the green!
So, Why Are Chippers Frowned Upon?
Golfers often frown upon the chipper because, despite being legal, others take it to make up for a golfer’s lack of chipping skill. Some golfers would argue that golfers who use chippers should be practicing their chipping skills instead.
Is this a fair assessment? It's up for debate. In not using a chipper, golfers take the harder route of using a wedge. So even though chippers are legal in golf, some golfers consider their use tantamount to cheating.
However, there’s more respect for the wedge and those who use it because golfers can then:
- Full swing from 80 yards
- Flop shot over water
- Splash out from the bunker
It’s a versatile club, and thus golfers will consider those using it more versatile players. However, there’s some movement on this bias against chippers regarding high handicap golfers. A handicap in golf is the numeral value given to a golfer to assess their skill; the higher the handicap, the more skilled the golfer.
Ironically, if you’re more skilled and use the chipper to save a few shots during a round, golfers may consider that tactical. Pro golfer Jason Palmer has even developed his own one-handed method when using a chipper to defeat the problems he was having with short shots on the green.
Also, it’s important to remember not everyone who plays golf is playing to become a professional golfer. Some people play a round on the green for the fun of it. Rather than spending hours trying to chip with a wedge, it can be easier and more fun for golfers to use a chipper instead. What are your goals?
Advantages of Using a Chipper
More Upright Lie Angle
The lie angle of a chipper is generally slightly more upright than the angles you’d find on a wedge. The lie angle is the angle between the shaft and the ground/bottom of the club face. Having a slightly more upright angle means that the heel of the club is not as likely to hit or dig into the ground, which makes for a more accurate shot.
Additionally, taking the shot can be far easier because the angle lends itself well to a putting-stroke by using a puttering grip, which requires less technique to execute.
Unlike 8 or 9 irons, chippers tend to be the same length as a wedge (around 36 inches). This means you won’t have to grip so far down the shaft to allow a good connection between the club face and the ball. Of course, much like a chipper's angle, you need less skill to take a decent shot. Again, focus on your personal goals here.
If you have a light club head, you’ll find that how you grip the shaft is critical, as not gripping it correctly could easily lead to miss-shots or errors. The heavier head actively helps the pendulum motion of the putting swing and helps prevent potential miss-shots. You use your shoulders, not your wrists, leading to more consistent strikes of the golf ball.
More Bounce and Wider Sole
By having a wider sole, the chipper will have increased bounce; the leading edge of your chipper won’t dig into the ground so easily (unlike if you were using a wedge).
There’s no doubt that the chipper makes shorter shots easier to hit, which can be a great solution for beginner golfers or golfers who simply want to enjoy their game and aren’t too worried about technique. The enthusiasm for golf boomed during and after the pandemic, with equipment sales and viewership increasing. It would be a shame if amateurs didn’t use the chipper to gain more confidence and enjoyment for the sport.
Disadvantages of Using a Chipper
One Shot Type
Regardless of whether you think golfers should frown upon the chipper, it’s ultimately an inflexible tool to carry around in your bag. It’ll only help you if you’re wanting to make a chip shot. Using a chipper means you can’t open up the face and play a high shot, or should you be stuck in a greenside bunker, it’s going to be hard to get out of it with a chipper.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to play a shot with a chipper, and not have a fellow golfer comment on it. However, you must decide if you want to use it and not make decisions based on what others think. Like most things that people frown upon, you might find your golfer buddies have an opinion - but it's really up to your personal preference.
If you can handle a few jibes here and there while out on the green, you’ll likely find that the advantages will outweigh the cons.
Why Don’t More Golfers Use Chippers?
It’s perfectly legal to play a chipper, but many golfers won’t because they fear the bad reputation. Ultimately, many golfers take pride in their skills and will want to prove to fellow golfers that they’ve put the time, energy, and money into perfecting their chipping skills with other clubs, like wedges. The fear of comments about using a chipper might be the sole reason for a golfer not using one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Worth Getting a Chipper?
If you’re not turned away by the attitude towards chippers, this club is worth the investment. While it only caters to one type of shot, it’s excellent for building confidence in beginners and is even used by pros to save themselves precious shots.
While it’s true that golfers frown upon these clubs, they remain perfectly legal for a reason. They’re even used by pros when they need to execute a short shot, so there’s no shame in using a chipper.