Longer grass surrounding the green is known as the “fringe” and designed to slow or stop balls rolling along the green from an approach shot or errant putt, thus preventing them from exiting the green. Though putting strokes can be made on it, the higher grass can interfere with the path of the ball, so players often choose to use a high lofted club such as a wedge to make a “chip shot” or a “bump and run”, where the ball carries in the air for a few yards and then rolls along the green like a normal putt. If you are having trouble mastering the higher loft wedges, especially close and tight to the pin near the green – a chipper may be your answer.
The chipper in golf is a hybrid cross-between a putter and wedge. For this reason, it is often referred to as a putter chipper. They can resemble both mallet and blade designs. This type of club features more loft than a standard typical putter and is utilized around the outside fringe territory a of a green when the golfer needs to just pop over the taller fringe onto the smooth green towards the hole. It can also be utilized just off the green on medium to light rough. The club performs as the name suggests. It allows you to hit a chip shot while employing a putting stroke. While a chipper can be used to tackle a few greenside shots, many professionals agree that the chipper is primarily for golfers who do not want to pick out a wedge. These people usually want a club that has a little less loft and may feel more comfortable since it most resembles a putter.
A golfer should swing the chipper like a putter. Swing the chipper the same way you would stroke a putter, accelerating as you complete the shot. Concentrate on driving the chipper through the ball, and let the angled face give the ball elevation. You may have to hit the ball with slightly less force as with a putt of a comparable distance. Focus on hitting through the ball to get it airborne but keeping it low. When the ball is in the air, it encounters less friction than a ball that remains on the ground all the way to the hole. Therefore, all else being equal, a shot with the chipper will likely travel a bit farther than a putt, thus it provides more options from longer distances using a controlled putting stroke.
Yes, a standard chipper is legal under the Rules of Golf. USGA Rule 4-1/3 defines a chipper as “…an iron club designed primarily for use off the putting green, generally with a loft greater than 10 degrees.” Some manufacturers sell double-sided chippers, which have two striking surfaces. These clubs are illegal under the rules, which state that the club head can “have only one striking face.” The chipper is another club that is slowly being replaced by modern hybrids. Even less-lofted hybrids can typically perform the same task as a chipper. A hybrid club can be used for other shots, while a chipper is basically only good for chipping. But, chippers still do have their place in golf and many amateurs carry one in their bag. Remember, as with any club – good feel and balance are important aspects of your shot comfort level.