Why Are Chippers Frowned Upon in Golf: Pros and Cons Explained

Colin McCarthy

why are chippers frowned upon

Struggling with your short game around the greens? You might’ve considered using a golf chipper. While chippers offer a great alternative to wedges or 9-irons, they’re often frowned upon by many golfers. But why is that?

Some golfers believe using a chipper shows a lack of skill in chipping. They argue that mastering wedges or irons is a more respectable approach.

However, if a chipper makes your game more enjoyable and effective, why not use it? After all, the ultimate goal is to get the ball on the green and rolling toward the hole, and a chipper can help you achieve that with minimal spin and low trajectory.

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind the stigma surrounding chippers and weigh their pros and cons. Stick around to discover the best chippers for amateur golfers and decide if this handy club deserves a spot in your bag.

Chippers in Golf

Chippers” in golf refer to a type of golf club designed for short shots around the green. They are similar to wedges but typically have less loft, making them useful for shots where you need to carry the ball a short distance with some roll.

What Is a Chipper?

A chipper is a specialized golf club designed for shots around the green. It functions as a hybrid between a putter and a wedge.

A chipper’s primary purpose is to help you execute chip-and-run shots with ease, making it an excellent tool for those who struggle with chipping using traditional clubs.

Unlike wedges, chippers aim to get the ball rolling quickly, minimizing air time and maximizing roll. However, despite their practical utility, chippers are often frowned upon by avid golfers and purists.

This disdain stems from the belief that relying on a chipper indicates a lack of skill or proper technique in short game play.

They are also prohibited in professional tournaments, reinforcing the stigma that they are not “serious” golf clubs.

Additionally, golfers argue that mastering traditional wedges offers more versatility and skill development, which can lead to better overall performance.

The Basic Design and Features of Chippers

Chippers typically feature a loft between 30 and 37 degrees, resembling a 7- or 8-iron. The clubhead has a wide sole, which prevents digging into the turf and promotes smooth contact with the ball. This design helps beginners or high-handicap golfers achieve more consistent results.

Another key feature is the upright lie angle, similar to a putter, which encourages a straight-back and straight-through stroke. Some chippers also have alignment aids on the clubhead, which assist in aiming and improving accuracy.

While useful for various chip-and-run scenarios, chippers have limited versatility and aren’t suitable for high shots or challenging lies.

Why Chippers Are Frowned Upon in the Golfing Community

Chippers are sometimes frowned upon in the golfing community for a few reasons:

Limited Versatility Compared to Other Clubs

Chippers are often criticized for their limited versatility. Other clubs, like wedges and irons, allow for various shot types and distances.

Chippers confine you to chip-and-run shots, restricting your options when dealing with different lies and course challenges.

This lack of flexibility makes it less appealing for advanced players who rely on a comprehensive set of shots to navigate the course effectively.

Additionally, chippers can instill a sense of dependency, potentially hindering skill development. This reliance may prevent golfers from mastering more versatile clubs, limiting overall growth and adaptability on the course.

Perception Among Golfers and Traditionalists

Many golfers and traditionalists view chippers as unconventional. In golfing culture, some believe that mastering traditional clubs, such as wedges, showcases a golfer’s true skill and knowledge.

Chippers are seen as simplifying the short game, thus disregarding the challenge and technique associated with traditional clubs.

This perception often leads to a stigma against using chippers, especially among seasoned players. Additionally, chippers are often perceived as crutches for those who haven’t honed their short game skills.

As a result, incorporating a chipper into your golf bag may be seen as undermining the integrity and tradition of the sport.

Perceived Lack of Skill

Using a chipper can be perceived as indicative of a lack of skill. The chipper’s design aids players in performing basic chip-and-run shots, which reduces the need for refined technique.

Advanced golfers may view the reliance on a chipper as a shortcut that bypasses the need to develop a well-rounded short game.

This perception contributes to the negative view of chippers in more competitive golfing circles. Furthermore, the use of a chipper can limit a golfer’s ability to adapt to different course conditions, as it is generally less versatile than traditional wedges.

Waste of a Club Slot

Golfers are limited to 14 clubs in their bag, and carrying a chipper is often viewed as a waste of a valuable club slot. Advanced players prefer versatile clubs that offer multiple shot options, making specialized clubs like chippers less desirable.

By opting for a chipper, you might sacrifice the inclusion of a more versatile club that could potentially improve your overall game.

Moreover, chippers can be seen as catering to beginners who struggle with short game techniques, thereby diminishing their appeal among skilled golfers. This perception can lead to judgments about a player’s competency on the course.

Advantages of Using Chippers

While chippers may be somewhat controversial in the golfing community, they do offer certain advantages:

Improving Short Game Accuracy

Chippers enhance your short game accuracy by simplifying chip-and-run shots. The club’s upright lie angle reduces the likelihood of the heel digging into the ground, preventing fat shots.

With a design resembling a putter, you can use a putting stroke, which many find easier to control than a wedge shot.

This consistency enables better accuracy around the greens. A chipper’s average loft of 37 degrees helps the ball travel around 20% in the air and 80% on the ground, promoting predictability.

Suitable for Beginners and High Handicappers

Chippers suit beginners and high handicappers by reducing the complexity of short game shots. By using a putting stroke, the learning curve is minimized, allowing you to focus on distance control and aim.

This can make the game more enjoyable, especially if you’re struggling with traditional wedges. The simplicity of the chipper helps instill confidence, which is crucial for improving overall gameplay.

However, many experienced golfers and traditionalists frown upon chippers. They believe chippers can stunt skill development and view them as a crutch rather than a tool for improvement. This stigma can discourage some players from using them, despite their effectiveness.

Disadvantages of Chippers

While chippers can be beneficial for certain golfers and situations, they also have some disadvantages:

Lack of Flexibility in Shot Choices

Chippers restrict you to the bump-and-run shot only. They don’t allow for opening the clubface, limiting you from executing higher, softer shots.

This is particularly disadvantageous in situations requiring more loft, such as getting out of bunkers or thick rough. The design prevents versatility, making it less useful in varied scenarios on the course.

Additionally, the limited adaptability means golfers can’t adjust to different green speeds and slopes effectively. This can lead to inconsistent performance and increased reliance on a single type of shot.

Skill Development Concerns for New Golfers

Using a chipper might hinder your overall skill development. While chippers simplify short game shots, relying on them can limit your ability to learn and execute different chip shots with other clubs.

This reliance might stunt growth in mastering a full range of shots necessary for improving your short game proficiency, thus impacting long-term development as a golfer.

Additionally, chippers can create a dependency that makes it challenging to adapt to different course conditions.

Building versatility in your shot-making is crucial for navigating varied terrains and situations, which a chipper doesn’t always accommodate.

The Legality and Rules Concerning Chippers

The legality and rules concerning chippers in golf are fairly straightforward:

Where and When Chippers Can be Used in Official Play

Chippers are legal for use in official play as long as they comply with the rules set by governing bodies like the USGA and R&A. You can incorporate a chipper in your bag during tournaments, provided it adheres to the 14-club limit.

Ensure your chipper has no dual faces, aligning with the rules against non-conforming clubs. While chippers are appropriate for many short-game situations, they aren’t always suitable for all types of shots or conditions.

They perform best in clear, straightforward scenarios like chip-and-run shots around the green, but they struggle in complex situations, such as deep rough or bunker shots.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using a golf chipper?

A golf chipper helps improve short game performance by simplifying chip-and-run shots. It features a design that combines the elements of a putter and a wedge, making it ideal for beginners and high-handicap golfers.

How does a chipper improve accuracy in the short game?

Chippers improve short game accuracy by allowing golfers to make more predictable shots. With an average loft of 37 degrees, they reduce the complexity of shots, making it easier to achieve consistent results.

Why are chippers suitable for beginners and high handicappers?

Chippers are suitable for beginners and high handicappers because they simplify shots around the green, reducing the need for extensive practice. They instill confidence by making it easier to perform effective chip-and-run shots.

What are the limitations of using a golf chipper?

The main limitation of a golf chipper is its lack of flexibility. It restricts players to bump-and-run shots, making it difficult to execute higher, softer shots needed in situations like bunkers or thick rough.

Are chippers legal for use in official play?

Yes, chippers are legal for use in official play as long as they comply with the rules set by the USGA and R&A. They can be included within the 14-club limit in tournaments.


While chippers offer clear benefits for beginners and high-handicap golfers looking to improve their short game, they come with notable limitations.

Their lack of flexibility and the stigma among advanced players can hinder your overall skill development. Although legal for use in official play, chippers excel mainly in straightforward, chip-and-run scenarios.

If you’re aiming for long-term growth and proficiency, consider balancing their use with traditional clubs to master a wider range of shots.

Additionally, relying solely on chippers can restrict your adaptability on diverse courses and conditions. To truly enhance your short game, integrate practice with wedges to gain better control and versatility.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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