We’ve all been in this spot on the golf course. A place that’s close enough to the green you don’t want to chip the ball, but where the rough is still too high or thick to simply putt the ball on. It’s one of the more dangerous places to be around the green, especially if the pin is close by. Often times the chance of catching the ball poorly and flying it over the green, or chunking it short, are better than the chances of you hitting a good chip, and that puts golfers like you and me in a tough position when it comes to decision making.
But are we really doomed to skulling balls across the green for the rest of our rounds? Or is there a different technique that can help us consistently get up and down from this tricky spot around the green? That’s why we’re here today. We’re here to learn about the hybrid chip.
For this sort of in between shot around the green, one of my favorite go-to shots is the hybrid chip. But I didn’t invent this innovative method of chipping and I actually first learned about it as a kid, reading “Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf” (which is a great book for any golfer, regardless of skill!). In one of the many sections, he has inside of his book Tiger outlines the basics regarding this chip. And while I never really considered it a viable chipping method as a kid, as I practiced around the green (and realized I could never get consistent at hitting these five-ten foot little flares on the green) I eventually turned to this method to give me a more consistent option I could turn to when I was in thick, green side rough. Once I started, new people I would play with would always end up asking me about why I choose to chip that way or even what the basics of the hybrid chip were so they could teach themselves. Eventually, word spread to my dad who has taken this chip to an art form and now uses it almost every round. So you might be interested in this new chipping technique, but how actually do we hit a hybrid chip?
We can think of this shot as a sort of combination between putting and chipping (because that’s honestly what we’re doing). For the setup, we are going to model a chip very closely. You want to start with your feet about shoulder width apart or even a little closer and place the ball slightly back in your stance. Just like a chip we want more weight on our front foot to help facilitate movement through the rough.
After this, the rest of the swing models more of a putt. Your back swing and follow through are both going to be similar to a putting stroke, and will model a pendulum motion. Your back swing should be fluid and can even contain a small amount of wrist hinge at the top of the swing to help add a little feel to the shot. On the way down you want to accelerate through the ball and not punch at it. This is going to let the natural loft of the club carry the ball over the rough and onto the green without pinching it (and sending the ball over the green). Because of the nature of the hybrid as a club, the ball is going to jump off your club head a little quicker than it would with a wedge, so before you take this shot out onto the course, practicing your distance control is a good idea.
This isn’t a widely popular shot yet, but there are people out there (and even professionals) that use the hybrid chip. If you need some help visualizing how the ball should travel, Jason Bohn explains the basics as well as some of his personal tips on how to hit a hybrid chip down below.
Of course, this isn’t going to replace your normal chipping techniques but having one extra tool around the green is never a bad thing! Now that you know the technique, all you need is a small bucket of balls and a practice green and you’ll be well on your way to finally hitting consistent chips from those tricky 5-foot ranges. So until next time golfers, pull out that hybrid, and watch your wasted shots around the green disappear.