CHIPPING TIPS"A Chip and a Putt" and "Up and Down" are terms you may have heard but don't completely comprehend if you "suckatgolf". Most golfers have trouble in this area largely because they seldom practice it. The golf courses may have to take some of the blame for this as many don't allow chipping on the practice greens. But for the most part chipping can be practiced at home, and the problem often isn't just a lack of practice, but the wrong approach.
Think of a chip from the fringe as a putt. You can use your regular grip or your putting grip, whichever you feel more comfortable with. (I use something in between the two.) You want to use the least lofted club that will get the ball past the fringe and onto the green, getting the ball rolling as soon as possible. This of course depends on how much fringe you have to clear and how far away the pin is.
Let's say you're a foot off the green on the fringe, good lie, 30 feet from the hole. In this case I'd probably take a 2 or 3 iron to just get the ball over the fringe and rolling. If you were only 15 feet away you might take a 4 or 5 iron if hitting a 3 iron hard enough to clear the fringe would mean too much roll for the shorter distance. The key is to clear the fringe with the least lofted club you can and still be able to stop the ball near the pin.
Many golfer's who "suckatchipping" will "always" use the same club to chip, and try to vary the speed. The more loft the club has the harder it is to control on chips. (this is why a putter has almost no loft!) The higher the ball fly's the more backspin it will have, not what you want on a chip or a putt.
I've found the best way to chip is to take a putting-like stance, and elevate the heel of the club face off the ground just slightly. The idea is for the heel of the club to NOT hit the ground. You're not looking to pinch the ball like on a normal iron shot, but to hit it more like a putt. With the heel off the ground ever so slightly you have more margin for error, and don't have to worry about the heel grabbing and closing the face, or the chip to "jump" off the club face and come out too hot.
Take a nice smooth back swing and follow through, just like a putt. DO NOT punch at it! Remember, this is a long putt, not a punch out from behind a tree.
Practice this shot at home on the carpet. You'll soon get the hang of it. Once you get the feel for this shot you may find you're looking to hole these rather then just get them close.
I know that when I haven't played and practiced for a while these short shots feel very awkward. If you've never practice these the correct way, it will take some time to get the feel. Once you do, you'll soon find yourself deciding on whether or not to pull the pin rather than worrying about just getting it close.
Don't hinge/break your wrists! This is not a pitch swing. Try to mimic your putting stroke. Firm wrists well past impact.
Don't bring the club too far back and decelerate to gauge the distance. Your backswing should be about the same length as your follow through. Just like a putt.
Read the green just like a putt. Depending on the length the ball may skip a little at first. Take that into consideration on longer chips. When the ball is bouncing it's not going to take much (if any) break until it start rollng.
Practice at home with a plastic cup on the carpet. Practicing from this "tight lie" will help you get the feel of not letting the heel touch the ground.
PIN IN OR OUT?
This is a matter of choice. A lot of the pro's like to pull the pin. I've never understood that one. If the chip is moving too fast you've got that backstop ready to save the day. If you have the right speed the pin shouldn't present a problem. When in doubt, leave it in. If the pin being in were a liablilty, why would there be a rule penalizing you for leaving it in when you're on the green?