Are Golf Chippers Legal? (2023 Update)
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A chipper is an ideal choice for certain aspects of gameplay in golf, such as when your ball is stuck in the greenside, and you’re having a difficult time swinging it out. With a chipper, you can chop and let your golf ball fly. It’s a handy option for sticky situations, but are golf chippers legal?
So, are golf chippers legal? Yes. According to the USGA, a chipper is legal in golf. However, there are some rules attached. For example, you cannot use a two-way chipper or a long chipper. You are also not allowed to use a putter grip while using the chipper.
If you’re considering adding a chipper to your golf game but want to make sure it’s legal, you’ve come to the right place. Below is some must-know information about chippers and when they are legal. More importantly, you will learn when they are not legal.
Are Chippers Legal in Golf?
Golf chippers are legal because they are iron clubs instead of putters, according to the Equipment FAQ at USGA. However, since they are considered clubs, they must follow the same rules as other woods and irons equipment in the game.
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Some of the key rules for using chippers include:
- You cannot use a chipper with a putter grip.
- The putter must not contain two striking faces (two-way chipper with a clubface on either side of the head).
- The putter cannot have any type of appendages used for aiming purposes.
- No long chippers are allowed (chipper must be the same length as a 7-iron).
It is imperative to follow the rules set forth by the USGA. If anyone is caught using a two-way chipper, they will be automatically disqualified. If a teammate is using a two-way chipper, the entire team will be deemed disqualified.
Most of the time, you can see a stamp on the chipper that says “USGA qualified” to know whether or not the chipper is legal in gameplay. Brands such as Wilson, True Ace, and Intech Golf make chippers that are legal.
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, most 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.