So, is a golf chipper legal? This is an important question to ask if you plan on including it in your bag as you head out onto the course, so knowing the full potential implications associated with using one is kind of important.
However, before we get into the legality of it all, what exactly is a golf chipper in the first place?
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Introducing the Golf Chipper Club
A golf chipper is, rather unsurprisingly, a club that helps with your chipping game in and around the green. Now, you may wonder why some people worry about it being legal, but that’s all to do with the appearance of the club.
The problem is that it doesn’t look like any other club that is in your bag. Ultimately, it makes people feel they have bought some strange hybrid club that doesn’t quite fit into the laws of the game.
The club tends to look more like your putter, but with one difference. This club has some loft on it that sort of resembles something around an 8 or 9 iron. That loft helps you get the ball off the ground while still providing a great sense of control over your shot.
This club is perhaps best for golfers with moderate to high handicaps. That’s because they tend to not have the same level of confidence in their short game and rely more on rolling the ball near the pin instead of killing it stone dead.
With this club, the ability to make a mess of the shot is somewhat reduced even though you do need to rely on reading the green correctly to get the ball near the pin.
How it Operates
You will use this club in a specific way.
Due to the loft, you may automatically think you will want to get some height on the ball, but that’s not the case. Instead, this club is not the same as a normal wedge.
The aim here is to get the ball off the ground, but it’s more about the roll of the ball on the green. You want to use the club to chip onto the green and use the undulations to your advantage. Basically, you need around 20% of the energy getting the ball in the air with the remainder being on how it rolls close to the pin.
But Why Not Use an Iron or Wedge?
So, here’s a good question. Why not go ahead and use an iron or wedge to get the same type of shot?
Well, a good golfer could manage to pull this type of shot off with a wedge or iron, but it’s not that simple. In fact, the average golfer would make a mess of it, and it’s all thanks to one addition in the design of the chipper.
With the chipper, extra weight occurs in the bottom of the club head. This helps force the ball up into the air without too many problems. It also means you won’t have to put in as much force to pull off the shot.
Due to this, the ball does bump and roll rather than getting some height and killing the ball dead on the green. The only downside is it does require you to have an understanding of the green itself and where you need to aim to get the rolls to work in your favor.
If you attempted to use a wedge or iron, there’s a good chance you would either underhit or overhit the shot. You need to have an amazing amount of control over your short game to pull this off whereas the chipper does most of the work for you.
When to Use the Chipper
Certain circumstances around the green will cry out for the chipper club found in the depths of your bag.
If you find yourself in a situation where the pin is at the opposite side of the green from where your ball lies, then the chipper is perfect. This space between ball and target gives you the ideal opportunity to use the chipper to your advantage.
This club is also used when you know that running the ball close to the pin is the only option available. A wedge or short iron can still do this, but it does require greater control and touch than what’s needed with the chipper.
Finally, the chipper helps you get out of trouble where you may have an impeded swing. That’s because this club is often shorter than most, and it does require less of a back swing to get the ball off the ground and moving.
So, if you land close to an obstacle and want to try to get out of a tricky situation, then the chipper can come to the rescue.
But is it Legal?
This is where we get to the main question, which is whether this club is legal or not. Well, the answer depends on the club you use.
The problem is there is both a one-face option and two-face, and the USPGA views both of them in a different way.
The one-face golf chipper is completely legal. In fact, a number of top brands produce this club, and they would hardly put so much effort into its design if it wasn’t legal.
The two-face golf chipper is a different story. This club has two faces, and you can use it with either a left-handed swing or a right-handed swing.
Now, if you sit there wondering about a putter with two-faces and how that’s legal and this is different, then we can explain.
The key is in the loft angle that comes with the club. Legally, a putter can have two-faces due to the low loft angle, which is below 10 degrees. A two-faced golf chipper has more than 10 degrees of loft on each face, and that’s the point where it becomes illegal.
So, what can we conclude from all this?
Well, a golf chipper is a legal club, but only if you go for the single face version. It’s also a club that will help moderate to high handicappers around the green. As long as you can get to grips with the concept of the bump and roll shot, then the chipper could be a great addition to your bag for any round.