Do you really struggle with your short game? Does your confidence completely disappear when you miss a green and you have to play a chip or pitch?
The pro’s on TV make chipping look so easy, don’t they? The commentators are always saying how they use the bounce, open up the 60 degree wedge, bump it in hard and low with spin - when all you're really thinking over a chip shot is: "Please don't thin it" / "please don't fat it!”
If the above happens to be you, then you could be in the right place - this club review could really change your game.
The Ping Chippo was introduced in the 70’s and it looked like a putter and a wedge in one. If you did own one of these you had to decide what was worse: your mates laughing at your new strange looking club or hitting your divot further than the ball from the side of the green. Decisions, decisions…
Ping are claiming to the have the answer, the answer to boost your confidence at least. Studies by Ping show 1/3 of all golfers could greatly benefit from using their new Chip-R, so I headed to Stockport Golf Club to find out if this was true.
The Ping Chip-R is not short on technology, it features all the tech that you would find in the latest Ping Glide 4.0 wedge from the Hydropearl finish to Micromax grooves.
To clubs set up and build, is as follows:
- A similar weight to a PW/LW
- A similar loft to a 9 iron - 38.5 degree
- Bounce of 8 degrees
- The length of a putter - 35 inches
- Standard lie angle of a putter with the 10 colour code options available (like in the Ping irons)
- A Z-Z115 wedge shaft
- A regular 360 Dyla-wedge Lite iron grip, not a putter grip
Ping claim that the ChipR is recommended for shots within 40 yards of the green from the rough or fringe, and golfers can apply a putting-like stroke to achieve distance control and consistency without fear of chunking or blading their shots.
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Ping ChipR Wedge Review
I think for what it is, the Ping ChipR looks good. You could easily hide this in your golf bag amongst the irons and only your eagle eyed playing partners would notice.
It has the same finish and look of the latest Ping G425 irons - it even has the weight screw on the toe. However it does feature a much smaller face depth and it is obviously more upright than an iron with a putter lie angle.
It is extremely upright and so needs to be shorter in shaft length. On the back of the head is a black composite cavity badge above is written ChipR. All in all - its inoffensive, contemporary and quite sleek looking. Golfers looking to use this to boost their confidence wouldn't be put off.
This club isn’t supposed to be used from outside of 40 yards, it is literally for a chip and run shot and a golfer who takes their putter at every opportunity. Due to its putter specs you can’t take the club back much more than half away or what you could describe as 'a really long putting stroke'.
When using the ChipR, you set up to it like a putt, square stance, face on, high hands and little wrist break. Compared to actually using a putter, what makes it feel better is the loft so the ball carries a few yards in the air. It also has grooves where you create more spin on your shot and so receive more control.
This club feels designed for a chip and run rather than you really having to adapt to play that kind of shot. The sole sits on the ground unlike normally when you chip in this style with a wedge or 8 iron the toe is on the ground and the heel is in the air. This can cause toe strikes and therefore little spin and control of your shot.
I thought the ChipR felt pretty solid, it's rare that the type of golfer using this type of club will have much feel in their short-game anyway, it's more about an overall better result, more consistently.
I knew I wasn't going to be the right person to review the ChipR to see it's full potential, so we brought in the help of somebody who was really struggling with their chipping.
Introducing, Dean Brady, a member of Stockport Golf Club. He is a 7 handicapper but his wedge game is what holds him back. He nearly walked off the golf course last week as he was so disheartened with thinning and fatting his chip shots, costing him valuable shots and his self esteem. He had Vokey wedges in the bag, had invested in plenty of lessons but never mastered chipping to the point where he has fear when standing over a chip - the perfect candidate to test Ping ChipR.
Dean’s style of chipping was to use one of his three Vokey wedges with a putting stroke action. The faces of his wedges were heavily marked in the toe and he thinned 50% of the chips he faced whilst in front of me practicing.
When he swapped into the ChipR, straight away there was a new confidence. The club matched his adopted putting stroke-esc set up. He looked far more comfortable holding a ChipR. Out of the 10 balls he chipped all but one was closer than when using his own wedge. The thins and the duffs nearly stopped completely.
The strikes with the ChipR had more spin than with his Vokey’s (because he wasn't using them correctly). To test the wedges properly we tried a chip and run and a chip from the semi rough which were both very successful compared to Dean's wedge.
At the 40 yard mark Dean mentioned how he had to change his swing to have a hinge in his wrists so it didn’t feel right and this was proved in his shots not performing well.
The final challenge was a 25 yard chip over a bunker, his three attempts with a LW all failed and found the sand. His three attempts with the ChipR, one went into the bunker and the other two found the green. Even though the club isn’t suited for this shot it still out performed what he could do with a LW, which says a lot and had dean smiling.
Ping ChipR Wedge Verdict
Chipping can cause golfers such discomfort that you want to give up. It's an awful sinking feeling as you know what is going to happen before you even hit the ball. The fear that makes you just hit putter for safety every time.
In summary, the ChipR gave Dean back his love for the game and the £169 price tag didn’t phase him at all because he could now get the ball close to the hole never mind on the green from short range. This is a last resort club which will fix short term problems and grow confidence short-term, however I would also recommend golf lessons as a long-term fix.
What club would it replace? It is a specialist one so you'd have to sacrifice elsewhere by removing a 4 iron or lob wedge. But remember you can hit full swings with this club too...
Golf is not an easy game and can really get into your head, this makes chipping more straight forward, there is less feel but the results are there for all to see.
Would I Use It?
No - this club has a very specific target audience. Luckily for me I am in the 2/3's of people that don’t need it. However seeing Dean‘s smile and confidence rise I felt that I wanted to give him the club to go home with.