Golf chippers are some of the most controversial golf clubs that you can buy.
Why? Mainly it's because they make the game way easier and this rubs up a lot of golf purists the wrong way the same way hybrids shook people upside their head.
A golf chipper removes some of the common issues you get from playing with a sand wedge or lob wedge around the green and can help to remove duffs and fluffs, allowing you to use a putting stroke to chip the golf ball with ease. So what's all the fuss about a golf chipper?
The main sticking point and why golf chippers cause controversy is that some people thing they aren't legal for tournament play. So, are golf chippers legal?
So, are golf chippers legal? The simple answer is YES. According to the USGA, a chipper is a legal club.
But as ever, there are some rules you need to follow. For example, that cheap two-way chipper or that long shafted chipper in the garage are illegal clubs. Don't shoot the messenger.
With chippers becoming more and more popular, you might be tempted to add one to your bag. I have one, but I did my research to make sure that it's legal for tournament play on the golf course. Here's what I have found so you can make sure you are playing legal golf equipment and don't get banned from your golf club.
Are golf chippers legal?
Golf chippers are definitely legal. They are defined as iron clubs instead of putters and this information is direct from the Equipment FAQ at the USGA (United States Golf Association). However, as a chipper is also seen to be a standard golf club, they have to follow the same rules as other equipment in the game.
Some of the rules for using chippers as legal golf clubs include:
- You cannot use a chipper with a putter grip. (That would make things too easy)
- The chipper must have only one striking face
- No long chippers are allowed (chipper must be the same length as a 7 iron).
You must follow these rules or risk being disqualified from any competition you're playing in.
If in doubt look for a stamp on the chipper that says “USGA qualified” or "USGA Approved" to know whether or not the chipper is legal in gameplay. Brands such as Wilson, Ping, Inesis and Cleveland make legal golf clubs.
Can You Use a Chipper in a Golf Competition?
Yes. You can use your golf chipper in your golf club competitions.
You are unlikely to see professional golfers use a chipper on the PGA tour even though they are a legal club. Top players have the skills to manipulate the golf ball with any club in their bag and so don't see the need to take up a slot with a specialist chipping club.
Chippers are specifically designed for golfers with a mid to high handicap. Higher skilled players and scratch golfers will usually want to have complete control over their ball and its spin, so a chipper is not a common piece of golfing equipment at these levels of the game. I've never seen or heard of a professional on the PGA tour using a chipper, but who knows, the world is a crazy place!
Should You Use a Golf Chipper?
If you can't chip, then getting a chipper is going to make the game of golf much easier for you. I have used a seven or eight iron for shots around the green for a long time, and a chipper replicates the type of trajectory and roll out you would get with these clubs.
A chipper feels like a putter in many ways and you use a chipper in similar way, by using a putting stroke. You will notice that your golf balls won't have much spin, so you need to factor in some roll out.
Are Double-Sided Chippers Legal in Golf?
While a regular chipper is legal in golf, a double-sided chipper is not legal. If you or your teammate are caught using a double-sided chipper, you will be automatically kicked out of a tournament. In team situations, the entire team will get the boot, so please don't do this!
The main reason a two-way chipper is illegal is that there are two club faces. USGA rules state that a piece of equipment is legal for play as long as the clubfaces are less than ten degrees in loft. So, a putter with two clubfaces is legal.
If you are playing for fun with friends, don't rule out using a two-way chipper. If you see one for cheap somewhere, pick it up and don't look back.
How Far Can You Hit a Golf Chipper?
A golf chipper is a short game club so it's designed for finesse shots around 30 yards from the flag. Mostly you will be using a chipper from the fringe of the green, not for full shots!
What is the Difference Between a Chipper and a Wedge?
Are you looking to put a chipper in your golf bag? As long as it is not two-way, then it can be used in golf legally. You might be wondering if it's worth removing a wedge to add a chipper. Here are the main differences to help your decision.
- Chippers have a loft variation of anywhere from 32 to 37 degrees, while a wedge has 44 to 65.
- Wedges and chippers are convenient for the short game, although a chipper is better suited for shots from the fringe.
- Wedges are really designed for long shots up to 140 yards, while a chipper is better used for shorter shots of up to 30 yards.
- Chippers work like a putter, while a wedge is an iron.
- Chippers are a rather new invention, while wedges have been around for quite some time, which is why it is somewhat unknown whether or not chippers are “legal” in golf.
What are the best golf chippers?
Final thoughts on are chippers legal in golf?
If you are struggling with your golf game inside chipping range, then a specialist chipping club might be for your. Shots around the green are where you're going to score so any help you can get as a handicap golfer should be grabbed with both hands. Try one out on the golf course and see how the golf ball reacts. It could be the key to unlock your short game.