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We’ve all experienced what it’s like to be on the fringe of the green only to smack the ball past the hole and right off the other side. Most golfers are pretty inconsistent with their wedges, and because of that, chippers have become really popular. The leader in that market in the PING ChipR.
|What I Like||What I Don’t Like|
|Has a good look||The price is quite high|
|It’s well built||It’s hard to find|
|Improves consistency around the green||It doesn’t spin the ball as well|
Key Takeaways: The ChipR is a good-looking club that’s well built and should help improve your bump and run shots. It does have a few downsides such as the price, the availability, and the spin rates. However, it’s a very good product and is one of the best wedges for average golfers.
Who Should Buy: The ChipR is a solid club and could be worth picking up if you struggle with hitting fat and thin shots around the green. I’d also consider trying it out if you’re a fan of hitting bump and run shots from within 40 yards.
PING ChipR Specs
|Lie Angle||70 Degrees|
|Shaft||PING Z-Z115 (Wedge Flex/111g Weight/Low-Mid Launch)|
PING Alta CB Slate (Regular Flex/72g Weight/Mid-High Launch)
|Grip||360 Dyla-Wedge Lite|
The Initial Impressions
“You’re not seriously going to use that Disney club are you?” That’s what one of my golf buddies said to me when I first got a chipper golf club out of my bag. I asked what he meant, feeling fairly sure I knew what the answer would be. “It’s a Mickey Mouse club!,” he proclaimed.
I’m sure anyone who’s used a chipper has had that kind of response at some stage. You might think: get some new golf mates. But if you’re going to dish it out, you’ve got to be able to take it. And I regularly have a laugh at the expense of my golf buddies. It’s part of the fun of the game.
Even so, that comment hurts.
Let’s face it: most chippers – and I’ve owned a lot – don’t look great. If I’m having to chip in front of the clubhouse, I’ll often put my golf bag between me and anyone watching – so they can’t see this “Mickey Mouse” moment.
Imagine my joy then when I unpacked the new PING ChipR and saw that it just looks like any normal wedge. In fact, a normal iron head cover fits it perfectly. That’s very different to any of my other chippers.
If I could chip as well as some of my golf mates, I’d be playing off single figures, instead of 15. I’m hoping that the PING ChipR is going to change my fortunes!
Looks & Price
It certainly looks great and is clearly built to a very high standard. Until now, my favourite chipper was the Wilson Harmonized club – but the head fell off mid-shot after about a year of use. That caused even more mirth from my mates!
The ChipR looks as if it’ll last for years. Mind you, I should hope so for £159/$195!
Despite the high price, these clubs are one of the hottest products of the year. In the UK (and Canada), I think I found one of the last ones on sale at any shop! Most stores I spoke to were saying they couldn’t get any more until November (2 months from now). They’d sold out within days.
I’ve since seen them selling on eBay for £100 ($115) more than they are new, which is incredible. PING is onto another winner, that is, if it actually performs the way they say it will.
How It Performed
The idea is to use a putter stroke with it, up to a maximum distance of 40 yards. I’ve used it for longer shots and it works. But it’s summer in the UK and the ground is hard. So perhaps in winter, 40 yards will be maximum.
PING say it’s part wedge, part putter … and all performance. But what it looks like doesn’t really matter. How does it perform on the course?
In short, it has improved my chipping by about 50 percent under the pressure of playing 18 holes. I still hit some poor shots with it but the frequency of them has dropped considerably. Hopefully that will continue to improve as I get more used to it.
Practising in my back yard/garden, the club works brilliantly. I can get 90 percent of balls within a club length of where I want it to stop from 20 yards.
I did some testing on the practice green at my club and the results are certainly impressive. I hit 20 balls each – from 15 yards, 20 yards and 30 yards to the flag. All 60 balls ended up on the dance floor! And many near the hole.
For me, that’s just perfect because putting is the best part of my game. So I’m confident that if I’m on the green, I can take a maximum of two putts and walk away with a bogey at worst. Sometimes, I’ll one putt and be very happy!
After this practice session, I played a round of golf and needed to use it five times to get onto the green. Four ended up on the green (and I one-putted two of them!). One was just on the fringe. So a fantastic result. But I had practised extensively before the round (perhaps that’s the secret too?).
My issues around chipping are confidence.
One thing is certainly true – the PING ChipR does make me feel more confident when I stand over the ball than I have done in the past. I’m hoping that the more I use it, the more confident I’ll become. And therefore, the better my chipping will become.
It looks and feels like a premium club – which of course it is. It’s a PING. It has a nice solid sound as the ball comes off the face and it feels like all PING irons should. Quality.
It’s worth remembering that the object of golf is to get the ball in the hole, taking as few shots of possible. So it doesn’t really matter if you’re using a “Mickey Mouse” club or not.
Forget the ego. Lower your scores. If it’s legal – and it helps – why wouldn’t you use it. I’ve already heard one PGA golf professional, Mark Crossfield, saying he has a chipper club in his bag. If it’s good enough for him then it’s probably good enough for you.
It’s also worth remembering that Tiger Woods has had the chipping yips at times (although I’d take his bad chipping days every time – all things are relative!). So there’s no shame in needing a bit of help.
There is one downside to the ChipR. As with every similar club I’ve used, if you need to chip over a bunker or water onto a tight green, don’t expect to be able to stop the ball quickly. That’s certainly my experience. You’ll still need a more regular wedge.
Yes there is technology in the ChipR to make the ball spin and therefore help it stop. But I haven’t been able to generate enough spin for a quick stop. Maybe you will.
Design & Why It Was Created
The club is inspired by the PING Chipo, introduced by company founder Karsten Solheim in the late 1970s for golfers who lacked confidence with a traditional wedge.
“Golfers who fear chunking or blading their chip shots are really going to benefit from the new Ping ChipR,” said John K. Solheim, Ping CEO and President. “We’ve learned a lot since my grandfather, Karsten Solheim, invented the Chipo, but his insights were spot on as always.”
The ChipR is the length of a putter and with a similar loft to a 9 iron – 38.5 degrees. It also has 8 degrees of bounce.
One thing I instantly liked about it is that the grip is very long so it’s possible to grip a long way down the club. That helps me a lot, because the closer I can get to the ball, the less chance there is of a thin or a fat shot.
The head also feels nice and heavy so it’s easy to generate the right amount of speed to lift the ball off the ground, which is the thing that makes me most fearful of chip shots – actually getting the ball airborne.
The club’s cambered sole helps improve performance and can work well from the rough and the fringe of greens, says PING. It can (and probably should) be custom-fitted – although you’ll have an even longer wait for a custom fit, unless PING ramps up production dramatically.
Should You Buy It?
After all this, it’s left me wondering why PING has waited nearly 40 years to make an updated version of the Chipo. I have asked them but haven’t had a reply as yet. But, like so many others, I’m incredibly pleased that they have! It is a club I am sure I’ll keep in my bag for some considerable time to come!
When it comes down to whether or not you should add this club to your bag, you need to ask yourself two questions:
- Do you hit a lot of chunky and thin shots around the green with your wedges?
- Do you like to hit bump and run shots?
If the answer to either of those questions is yes, I think the ChipR could be well worth your time and money. It’s probably especially useful for mid to high handicap golfers.
However, just because this club could be perfect for some people, it probably isn’t for everyone. A lot of golfers out there will still prefer their standard wedges. I’d recommend you check out our best wedges for average golfers article to see how the ChipR compares to others on the market.
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