If you have spent much time around the game of golf, you know that there are lots of different types of golf shots that you can hit. Three of the most common shots for around the green are the pitch shot, the chip shot, and the flop shot. Although many amateur golfers like to think they understand how to define and execute these shots, most do not.

In our guide, we will give you the detailed information you need to understand what a chip vs. pitch vs. flop is and when you should hit them. Keep reading to completely change and improve your short game.

What’s the difference between a chip shot and pitch shot? 

The chip shot is a one-lever move where more of the shoulders are used without a wrist hinge, whereas a pitch shot is a two-lever movement that includes the trunk and the wrist. Both shots require a good understanding of the golf swing, as well as a solid grip. Knowing how to execute each type of shot will allow you to make the best decision when playing golf.

How do you know which club to use for each type of shot?

When choosing which club to use for each type of shot, there are several factors to consider. The first factor is the lie of the ball. If the ball lies close to the ground, then you would want to use a shorter club such as a 3 wood or 5 iron. If the ball is lying farther away from the target, then you would want a longer club like a 7 iron or 9 iron.

Another factor to consider is the distance of the hole. If the hole is close, then you would want something with less loft, such as a wedge or sand wedge. If the hole is far, then you would want to hit an approach shot with a high-lofted wedge.

Differences between a chip, pitch and lob shot

A chip shot is a short greenside shot that rolls more than it flies, the pitch is a mid to short greenside golf shot that flies more than it rolls, and a flop shot is a high lofted greenside golf shot with almost no roll. These are the three most popular short game shot options for golfers, and to really get great around the greens, you need to understand the differences.

Each of these three golf shots will require different types of swings, ball position, shot planning, and even different club selection. If you are ready to expand your knowledge of greenside shots, here is everything that you should know about the chip vs. pitch vs. flop.

Chip shot

image of chip shot vs pitch shot - AEC Info

A chip shot is the most common short game shot. The chip shot will roll further than it flies. When you hit a chip shot, you are going to hit the ball about halfway to the hole and let it roll the rest of the way. The chip shot is typically hit with a sand wedge, Pitching wedge, or even an eight iron.

It is essential to consider the slope of the green and the location of the pin when planning your chip shots. You will need to learn about how far your chip shots are going to roll when you hit them.

Tips to hit a chip shot

To hit a great chip shot, you should have your feet rather close together (closer than shoulder-width), the ball played in the middle of your golf stance, and the golf swing should be a miniature version of your full golf swing. Most chip shots don’t require you to take a club back higher than your waist. When hitting a chip shot, pick a primary target where the ball should land and use the pin as the secondary target.

Pitch shot

With a pitch shot, your golf shot is going to have more loft and a higher ball flight. For most pitch shots, the ball will land on the green and then roll a few feet. The difference in ball flight and roll is what will distinguish a pitch from a chip. Many golfers will have a hard time choosing between chip and pitch, but it is essential to have both shots in your repertoire.

Pitch shots are typically used when you are a little further from the green and have to take a slightly bigger swing with some wrist hinge. Many golfers will consider this shot to be a short approach shot to the green. The biggest benefit of the pitch shot is that it will get the ball up in the air quickly and stop quickly.

Tips to hit a pitch shot

With a pitch shot, it is best to have the face angle of the club slightly open. If you stand closer to the ball, you should have a little more control over the shot as well. One of the most critical factors when hitting a pitch shot is to have a slightly open stance and to choose the right club. Pitch shots tend to perform best when you use a sand wedge or gap wedge, or pitching wedge.

Flop shot

image of golf flop shot - AEC Info

A flop shot is a higher trajectory shot that will not go very far but will go quite high up in the air. Flop shots can be a bit scary for some players because you will need a very large golf swing with an open face to hit a proper flop shot. Phil Mickelson is the king of flop shots; the way he can work the ball with these high lofted flop shots really shows his impressive ability with the game of golf.

Many golfers use the flop shot when in the thicker grass because it can help to cut through thick rough and get the ball higher. This is a shot that you will need to practice in order to get the ball rolling and flying the way you need it to.

Tips to hit a flop shot

Of all the golf tips you will read about flop shots, the most important is to be confident that you can hit this shot. Most flop shots are hit with an open-faced lob wedge or 60 degree wedge. The golf shot requires a full swing, lots of clubhead speed, and a wide-open clubface.

The club will almost slide under the golf ball a bit and put a tremendous amount of backspin on the ball. This is what helps to create the higher ball flight and almost no roll.

Common questions

Knowing what to do around the green with short game shots is a skill that takes some time to develop.

What is the difference between chipping and pitching?

The main difference between chipping and pitching is the flight of the golf ball. The chip shots are closer to the ground, and they roll quite a bit further to the target. The pitch shot is more of a higher lofted shot, and the golf ball will not roll much when it hits the green. Learning to hit both a chip and a pitch is essential for success on the golf course.

Is my chipping swing different than my full swing?

The great thing about the majority of short game shots is that they will be very similar to your full golf swing, simply a smaller version. The body rotation and ball position may change when hitting chips, pitches, and flops, but your overall swing mechanics should stay relatively the same.

Should i pitch or chip? 

There are a few things to consider when deciding to pitch or chip. The most important is the lie of the golf ball, the location of the pin, and the distance that you have to get to the hole. When you practice your short game, consider the lie of the ball, the pin location, and the speed of the putting surface. Make sure that you vary the different types of shots that you are hitting so that you can pull them off when you are on the golf course.


We hope that you now feel as though you know the difference between the chip vs. pitch vs. flop shot. The more variety you have in the shots you can hit, the better your chances are of getting the ball close to the hole.

It’s impossible to say that the chip, pitch, or flop are better than the other; instead, golfers need to learn all three. For more golfing tips be sure to check out reviews from AEC Info.

Looking to improve your play around the Green? Be sure to check out our recent article on the Rule of 12.  Your short game will never be the same.