Are Golf Chippers Legal ([year] Update)

Are Chippers Legal in Golf? (Yes, But Check These Rules)

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When someone finds out what a chipper is, their first question is – are chippers legal in golf? They are. While the untraditional head shape and common uses cause doubt, there’s nothing in the rules making the chipper golf club illegal. 

But who would use such a thing? A lot of people. High handicap golfers or anyone who struggles around the green gravitate towards chippers. They require a short stroke and lend themselves to a bump and run trajectory due to their loft. 

With the option to be used from the fringe, fairway, and light rough, chippers are a “do-it-all” club for the golfer constantly searching for answers around the green.

What are the restrictions on chippers?

are chippers legal in golf

There are two “places” where you need to look for rulings in golf. The USGA and R&A. Because of rising popularity, both governing bodies have answered quite clearly the question of “are chippers legal in golf?” Both say yes, but with some restrictions.

A quick section on the legality of chippers from the USGA tells us the club:

  • May not have a putter grip.
  • Two striking faces.
  • Appendages for aiming purposes.

Chipper Grips

This part of the rule comes from the requirement of non-putter grips to be round and putter grips traditionally have a flat front. Since chippers are not putters, they need to follow the same grip rules as every other club in your bag.

Chipper Striking Faces

The only club permitted two striking faces is a putter. Again, a chipper is not a putter. Additionally, the rule telling us about a putter with two striking faces is legal is more to allow blade putters without any flange than anything else. Think mini golf putters.

Chipper Aiming Assist

An appendage is something attached to a golf club, like a laser or something similar. This does not prevent a manufacturer from placing a dot on the crown of the club, so you know where the center is.

If you’re somewhere falling under R&A jurisdiction, they provide a detailed explanation in Section 2.1a of their Conformance of Clubs. The USGA explanation, which is the same, can be found here, also in Section 2.1a.

Any deviation from these very specific rules makes the chipper golf club illegal. Stick to the rules laid out and the chipper is a legal golf club.

Is it worth getting a chipper? 

A chipper should not be your first club of choice. They are made for players who otherwise struggle with traditional wedges and alternative chipping methods around the greens. If thoughts of a bladed or chunked chip are in your mind before each shot around the green though, a club-swap solution is not a radical idea.

Compared to standard wedges, which retail for around $180 these days, a chipper is an affordable experiment. If you find yourself frustrated around the greens more than anywhere else, getting a chipper is absolutely worth it.

Can You Use a Chipper in a Golf Competition?

While it’s true that chippers are legal in golf competitions, you’re likely not going to see a professional using them during gameplay. In fact, many professionals tend to look down on using a chipper.

Why?

Because chippers are specifically designed for those with a mid to high handicap. Chippers also give the golfer far less control over their ball’s spin. Someone with a high skill level prefers to have complete control over their ball and its respective spin, so a chipper is not a common piece of golfing equipment at professional levels.

Should You Use a Golf Chipper?

A chipper can help your game immensely, especially when your ball has landed in an area with rough or short grass. A chipper is specifically designed with a wedge-shaped club and a shorter shaft. Paired with an angled face, a chipper has the ability to send the ball in an upward trajectory using a putting stroke.

Of course, this also means that you have less control over the spin of your ball. As you increase your skill level, you may find that a chipper is no longer of use to you, and you would prefer to use iron #5 or iron #7 instead.

Are Double-Sided Chippers Legal in Golf?

While a regular chipper is legal in golf, a double-sided chipper is not. In fact, if you or your teammate are caught using a double-sided chipper, you will be automatically disqualified. In team situations, the entire team will be disqualified for the game.

The biggest issue with two-way chippers is that there are two club faces. USGA rules state that a piece of equipment is legal as long as the clubfaces are less than ten degrees in loft. Therefore, a putter with two clubfaces is legal. Since a two-way chipper’s clubfaces exceed the ten-degree rule, they are not legal.

If you are playing for recreational purposes only, don’t discount a two-way chipper. Two-way chippers are great for left and right-handed players. You can chip and hit shots with them. Not only that, but a two-way chipper can handle an immense amount of obstacles, so you have a better chance of making it in the hole.

How Far Can You Hit a Golf Chipper?

When using a chipper in golf,  you should likely limit the shots to 30 years or less. This will create the best shots for the type of equipment you’re using. On certain courses, though, such as true link courses, you may be able to get a little bit more yardage.

What is the Difference Between a Chipper and a Wedge?

Wondering if a chipper is right for you? As long as it is not two-way, then it can be used in golf legally. But that doesn’t mean you have to own one. Here are some of the key differences between a wedge and a chipper.

  • 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 the greenside area.
  • Wedges are better suited for long shots nearing 140 yards, while a chipper is better suited for shorter hits of up to 40 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.

FAQs

How far can you hit a golf chipper?

When using a chipper in golf, you should likely limit the shots to 30 years or less. This will create the best shots for the type of equipment you’re using. On certain courses, though, such as true link courses, you may be able to get a little bit more yardage.

How far off the green can you use a chipper?

This question is how far away you can use a chipper from and not how far away you should use a chipper from—and that makes a big difference. You can use a chipper from any distance you want. A chipper is a legal golf club and there is no restriction on where you use a certain type of club. 

Want to use your putter off the tee? Go for it. Your driver on the green? Fine, but you better not damage the green or you’ll be the least popular golfer at the course.

By this point, you’ve stopped asking if chippers are legal in golf. Now, you’re the thinking of the most effective ways to use one. Chippers are at their best when used with a putt-like stroke, for shots 30 yards and under. Trying to stretch that distance allows more room for error. But hey, people use driver off the deck and it somehow how works. If it fits your game, you can take a full swing with a chipper.

Can you use a hybrid as a chipper?

Short answer, yes. A hybrid can be used as a chipper. But they are very different and while results may be similar, how you get there is very different.

A hybrid will not “pop” the ball up as easily as a chipper because the loft difference. While chipper’s have lofts in the mid 30’s, most hybrids are in the teens or low 20’s. Hybrids function like putters and chippers as 8-irons.

Additionally, hybrids are better from longer distances, but not from the rough. If you’re able to roll the ball through fairway or fringe the whole time, a hybrid may be your best option. If there’s a bit of rough to get through, using a chipper to avoid the area is a better play. Then again, like all things in golf, confidence is number one and you should use the club you’re most comfortable with.

Can you chip one-handed in golf?

While golf has plenty of rules restricting various ways to hit the ball, the use of one hand is not one of them. 

Not only is it legal to chip one-handed in golf, but you can hit any shot you want with one hand. We have no idea why you’d want to hit a drive or long iron with just one hand, but there’s nothing in the rules against it.

However, when you get close to the green, the option begins to get more appealing. Whether it’s a case of the yips, a way to help you focus more, or any injury, you are free to legally chip one-handed.