Dave Pelz’s Mailbag

October 19, 2007

If you have a question for Dave Pelz, e-mail him at [email protected]

Dear Dave,
I recall seeing a table in GOLF Magazine that showed chipping ratios, carry to roll, as detailed below:


6-Iron 1:6
7-Iron 1:5
8-Iron 1:4
9-Iron 1:3
PW 1:2

Do you agree with these ratios? — Steve

Dear Steve,
The lower the loft of the club used for chipping, the greater the roll. With more loft and the same chipping motion, the ball will fly higher but roll less.

Let me recommend an exercise to give you some confidence in your chipping: Take your entire set of clubs to a practice green and get a basket of balls. Go to one end of the practice green and start chipping with your lowest-lofted iron. Use the same chipping swing and go through every iron in your bag until you get to your most lofted wedge.

We teach students to control their chipping distance by using the same chipping motion and changing clubs. Be sure to play the ball back in your stance and in the same position with all clubs.

Get to know what distance you chip a few different clubs, and remember: You can chip with every club in the bag, including the 60-degree wedge (in the case of a slick downhill chip to a pin about 8 yards away).

Dear Dave,
In the chipping section of Pelz’s Short Game Bible, you talk about playing the ball 2-3 inches behind the center of your stance, which would be off your back ankle. This keeps the ball rolling low to the ground and helps you create crisp contact.

But later in the chapter you discuss backspin, and write that backspin only hurts a chip. Since the further back in your stance the ball is played, the more backspin you’ll put on it, aren’t you contradicting yourself? — Stu

Dear Stu,
The low-lofted clubs used to hit chips and low, running shots do not cause enough backspin to cause serious problems.

Yes, playing the ball back causes slightly more backspin, but ball position makes more difference with higher-lofted clubs, which produce much more backspin. We’ve found that the back ankle position doesn’t cause enough spin to hurt running chip shots and is the best way for people to make crisp contact.

Remember, spin is created when the club face passes the ball, which slides up the face of a lofted club. Spin can also increase when the club pinches the ball against a firm surface like hardpan or firm sand. On low-running chip shots, the club never passes the ball or hits it hard enough to make it slide up the face, so they won’t have much spin.

If you have a question for Dave Pelz, e-mail him at [email protected]