Can you Chip on the Green?

Handle with Care: Chipping on the Green

Do you want to learn how to chip from the putting green? If so, we’ll take you through the steps to execute this challenging shot and make it look easy. 

To start, yes you can chip from the putting green unless there is a local rule in effect (which we’ll cover below). However, it’s a tough shot for most everyday golfers for two reasons.

First, it’s an insanely tight lie and requires a precise strike to hit the ball and avoid taking a chunk out of the green. Second, most golfers are scared of taking a divot out of the green, which can lead to some uncommitted swings.

Today, we’ll cover the steps to hit this shot, how to drop if there is a local rule, and answer your biggest chipping questions. 

How to Chip From the Putting Green

Imagine playing a par 3 with a massive green, we’re talking about two club differences depending on the pin location. You know what we mean, one of those greens that is nearly the size of Texas. Maybe it even has a ridge running through it or multiple tiers with an odd shape.

You might hit a decent shot and find the dance floor then be faced with a choice, putt from extremely long range… sometimes navigating the fringe or a huge hill. Or, doing the unthinkable, chipping from the putting green.

It’s a scary shot for most golfers, but with the right technique and mindset, you can make it happen. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Chipping from the green is allowed unless there is a local rule prohibiting it. 
  • If there is a rule in place, you’ll need to take a free drop no closer to the hole. 
  • If you want to chip from the green, you’ll need to play it the same as a tight lie and commit to the shot.
  • You need the right mindset to hit this shot and understand that if you do take a divot, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure to replace it, so the grass can heal faster. 

Local Rule That Doesn’t Allow Chipping on the Green

In most cases, you can chip from the green… assuming you’re on the correct hole. 

For example, let’s imagine you’re on the par 3 8th hole and the 17th green is about 20 yards to the right of the cart path. You hit a big push shot that hits the cart path and ends up on the 17th green, despite playing number eight.

If you’re playing in a competitive event, there might be a rule allowing you to take a free drop if you hit on a green that’s a different hole than the one you’re playing. In this example, you would be able to take free relief as long as it’s not closer to the hole. 

You would find the closest point to drop (typically the fringe) and drop as if it were a cart path ruling. This would allow you to chip or pitch back to the 8th hole and avoid taking a big chunk of grass from the green. 

However, if you’re playing a hole and the green is massive, has an odd shape, or leaves you with an impossible putt, you have the option to chip. Instead of taking out the flat stick, you can use a wedge to try and get your next shot closer. 

Here’s how to do it… 

Chipping From the Green 

Imagine you’ve hit the green in regulation but when you get to your ball you think, “This is an impossible putt.” Maybe you have a huge ridge to go over or some sort of tier impacting how your putt will break. So, you decide to chip it (as there is no penalty) instead of putting it. 

Step one is deciding if it’s the right play to begin with. Because chances are you don’t practice this shot and it’s the epitome of playing from a tight lie. If chipping isn’t a strong suit, take the putter and go through your normal lag putting routine.

But if you do think it’s the smart play, here’s how to hit this challenging shot.

How to hit a Chip Shot

Step-by-Step Process 

Start by taking your normal stance behind the ball and take some practice swings, feeling the clubhead graze the grass. You want to play this like a tight lie from around the green, there is no need to try anything fancy. 

You’ll need a lofted club – usually a gap, sand or lob wedge – depending on the distance and type of shot you want to hit. Open the club slightly so you expose the wedge bounce, which is key for this shot. Keep your weight centered or have a little bit more on the front foot (about 55-60%). 

You’ll want to make sure the ball position is in the middle of your stance or one ball ahead. Keep your hands neutral at address, you don’t want forward press as it’ll create a more downward angle of attack and likely lead to a big divot. 

The goal is to keep the clubhead outside your hands as you swing. You want to feel like you’re striking the ground with the sole of the wedge and more of a sweeping motion (not digging). 

Make sure to accelerate and follow through with a short swing. You don’t want a high follow through like you would with a greenside bunker. Think of this shot in between a pitch and a chip in terms of length of swing.

The club should barely graze the grass, the ball should come out clean, hit, and generate plenty of spin. Don’t anticipate a lot of forward roll because you’ll get so much friction with the ball (as the grass is so low) and create a lot of backspin.

If you do take a shallow divot, make sure to replace it for the greenskeepers (and avoid bad karma from the Golf Gods). 

FAQs

Do you have more questions about other short game shots? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

How to hit a Chip Shot

How do you chip just off the green?

If you’re just off the green, you want to putt if possible if you’re on the fringe (learn how here). 

Or, if you’re a high handicapper and in the light rough, putting is also likely a better option than chipping. One of the most common golf sayings is, “A bad putt is always better than a bad chip.” 

If you can’t putt it, opt to chip it with a pitching or gap wedge. Try to play a bump and run shot so it hits a few feet on the green and then rolls out like a putt. 

With a narrow stance, get most of your weight on your lead leg with middle-back ball position. Choke up on the grip, get your hands ahead, and make a simple putting like motion. The ball should hit and release toward the cup. 

Learn the difference between chipping vs. pitching now. 

Can you chip off a putting green?

Yes, as long as it’s the hole you’re playing. For example, if you’re playing the 9th hole and the 18th green is nearby, you might get free relief (depending on local rules or tournament rules). 

But if you’re playing the hole, you always have the option to chip it instead of putt. This is a greenskeeper’s nightmare sometimes, so make sure it’s the right option and follow the steps in this guide. 

How do you practice chipping around the green? How do you practice greenside chipping?

There are plenty of chipping drills to help you stay focused and make the most of your short game. One of my favorites is to bring a small towel and place it on the green. Try to land balls in this spot and visualize this during the round to hit your landing spot.

Another way you can do this is with a few alignment sticks. Place 2–3 sticks with a few feet between them on a longer chip shot.

Try to land your golf ball between them based on the wedge you’re hitting. For example, you’d want to land it closer and over the last alignment stick with a lob wedge. But if you’re playing a lower trajectory shot, you might land it between the second and third alignment stick. 

Golf Chipping

What do most pros chip around the green with?

Most pros use wedges, either a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, or lob wedge. Needless to say, unlike high handicappers, they are not using a “chipper” (check out our best golf chippers if your short game needs some help). 

Pros do putt from the fringe as well, especially when there isn’t much green to work with. Ultimately, it depends on the lie, green speed, slope, and how the putt/chip will break. 

Can you chip on the putting green?

At most golf courses, there is a “no chipping allowed” sign on the putting green. 

If this is the case, hopefully they have a dedicated short game area where you can work on your chipping, pitching, and bunker shots. If not, you might consider investing in some chipping buckets for your backyard to hone your short game without leaving home.

However, if they do allow chipping on the green and/or have a short game area, try an up and down chipping game. Take your favorite wedge and putter, then practice trying to get different shots up and down. Do this 9 or 18 times to simulate missing greens, go through your full routines, and see how many you can get. 

My Experience 

I’ve chipped from the putting surface a few times and have pretty good success. However, it’s definitely not an easy shot, as you don’t want to take a big divot off a pristine green. While I don’t recommend practicing them on the putting green, try it out on tight lies at the short game area. 

Final Thoughts 

You can chip from the putting green if you’re playing the hole and have the courage to do so. But just make sure it’s the right play, as it’s much easier to mishit this shot than a lag putt.

Want to learn more about the short game? Check out these helpful articles:

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Michael Leonard

Michael is an avid golfer of 25 years who played in high school, college, and now competes in Arizona amateur events. He is a full-time writer, podcast host of Wicked Smart Golf, and mental golf coach.