Let’s imagine your high-handicap game as an entire cake. Your drive is the base, and your putting is the fondant that goes on top.
On their own, they suffice, but if you’ve ever bitten into a two-tier cake, you’ll agree that something is missing. Just like your high-handicap game, it’ll be incomplete without one layer — chipping!
Unless you’ve got Happy Gilmore’s drive (and beginner’s luck on the par four course), chipping will be a crucial skill.
It can get you out of a sand trap and a few feet closer, so you can roll your putt. Plus, let’s not forget how your chipping ability takes the pressure off you when driving from the freeway.
In short, your chipping game needs as much work as your putting and driving if you want your high handicap index to drop. If you’re upping your chipping skills with drills, here are some of the best that’ll take you out of the sandtrap and your 20 handicap index!
The Coin Drill
Chipping is all about finesse and control. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you lack either. Improve your ball control with one of our favorite chipping drills for high handicappers, the coin drill.
As the name implies, you’ll need a coin, your wedge, and a ball for this chipping drill. Once you’ve got these ready, follow these steps.
By the end of the drill, you’ll have developed the ideal grip and level of control on your chip!
1. Place a Coin on the Ground
It doesn’t matter where you place the coin as long as it’s close to the green. If you ask us, we recommend that you set the coin down on a part of the course where your ball usually lands after your drive.
For instance, if you always hit the ball toward the rough a few feet from the green, place the count there.
2. Place Your Golf Ball Behind the Coin
Place the ball as close to the coin as you can. Do you want to increase the difficulty of the drill? Have the ball and coin touch.
3. Strike the Ball and Watch Out for a Divot and Where the Coin Goes
When you strike the ball, you’ll want the coin to move in the same direction as the ball. Make sure to avoid divots or miss the coin.
If there’s a divot where you struck the ball, you may be gripping your club too low, causing the clubface to face the rough or sand.
On the other hand, your club may be facing too high if the coin remains in place after you’ve struck the ball.
Putt With Your Wedge
Do you know the difference between a putt and a chip? The answer might surprise you.
The only difference between them is the club! Everything else, including the stroke, is the same.
All you need to do is putt using your iron or wedge. When you do this, the natural curvature of the clubface will lob the ball instead of rolling it forward.
Grab your wedge and grip it as you would your putter. From here, simply putt but with just a bit more “oomph” behind the shot.
You’ll find that your ball doesn’t roll forward. It flies at a low angle that you’ll see in any chip.
Did you change your technique? Not really. All you did was putt with your wedge!
Chipping Into the Hula Hoop
The coin drill and putting with your wedge will have enabled you to strike the ball so that it flies at a low arc. When you’ve mastered doing this, you’re now ready to add some direction to your chip!
While there are many drills for direction, we’ve found chipping into a hula hoop effective for high-handicap players. This drill will help you develop your directional control of the ball when you chip.
For this drill, you’ll need a hula hoop and a few golf balls.
1. Set the Hula Hoop Six to Ten Feet Away From You
The hula hoop must be six to ten feet from where you’re teeing off. If you’re running this drill for the first time, stand six feet from the hula hoop. Of course, you may ramp up the difficulty by teeing off farther from the hoop.
2. Line Up Three Golf Balls
It doesn’t matter how you’re lining them up. Just make sure that they aren’t too close to each other.
3. Chip the Balls Into the Hoop
After setting up your golf balls, chip each one into the hoop. The goal is to get all three into the hoop.
The point of this drill is to add direction to your chips. With that said, don’t worry if the balls don’t end up dead center as long as they’re inside the hula hoop.
The Par Two Drill
Chipping is part of your game that you need to work on to lower your handicap. However, it’s only part of your game. The other part of your short game is putting. The par two drill allows you to work on both while bringing more fun into your short game!
1. Tee Off Anywhere Outside the Green
The par two drill is meant to be fun. Feel free to select where you’ll tee off.
Once you’ve picked your spot, chip your ball into the green. Like with the hula hoop drill, you don’t need to sink the chip, but get the ball as close to the hole as you can!
3. Sink Your Putt
Once your ball is on the green, do your best to sink the putt. If you miss, restart the drill.
4. Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3 on Nine Different Holes
This way, you’ll get enough reps across various course topographies. Also, when you do the math, you’ll find that you’ll total 18 strokes in nine holes. If that doesn’t build your confidence, we don’t know what will!
The 100-yard Drill
If you watch people playing golf, you’ll notice most shots don’t come from the drive, and they aren’t putts either. Many of the shots you’ll see (and take) will be within 100 to 120 yards of the green. If you’re developing your short game, develop your accuracy at these distances!
The 100-yard drill helps you develop your sense of how much force you’re putting behind the chip. You’ll also figure out how much force to apply at various distances from the green.
For this drill, you’ll need yard markers and ten golf balls.
1. Place Yard Markers at 10-Yard Intervals
Begin by placing yard markers at ten-yard intervals from the green. In total, you should have 11 yard markers from the green.
2. Place a Ball at Each Yard Marker
After marking distances, set down a golf ball for each yard marker.
3. Tee Off and Make Sure the Balls Land on the Green
Begin with the ball closest to the green. Chip the ball into the green and take note of how much force you used. Once you’ve done this, repeat the same step with the other balls on the other yard markers.
By the end of the drill, you’ll develop an intuitive sense of how to chip the ball at various distances from the green. Because of the intuition and control this drill develops, the 100-yard drill is probably the most valuable drill after the other drills we’ve mentioned.
Bonus Drill: Sink Your Chip
After you’ve practiced the drills mentioned, you can have fun with this bonus chipping drill for high handicappers. The sink-your-chip drill allows you to take however many golf balls you want and chip them into the hole.
You can use as many golf balls as you want. Set up a tee ten to 20 yards from the green, and just chip the balls into the hole. See how many you can get in!
We recommend doing this after your chipping practice session. This drill won’t just help you develop accuracy over time; it’ll also make you feel chipper as you cap off chipping practice!
Chip Away at Your Handicap Index
Besides putting, chipping is a crucial part of your short game. By developing your chipping game, you’ll be giving your golf game breadth and depth that’ll get you out of sticky situations and closer to the hole.
Practice these chipping drills for high handicappers, and you’ll be chipping away at your handicap index before you know it!