When it comes to the fundamentals of chipping and pitching here are the 4 basics you should focus on.
When you’re taking your stance on a full shot, you’re going to be standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. You want a wider base when you hit a full shot to restrict your ability to over-turn your lower half. When you transition to a chip shot, move your feet closer together. Stand to the left of the target to free up the movement in your body. That allows you to rotate freely back and through. When making a full swing we would generally clear the hips in the downswing. Chipping is a much smaller motion so we need to set them open at setup.
The ball should be set in the center to slightly forward in your stance. Setting the ball too far back on a normal shot will increase steepness and decrease the loft. Try engaging the leading edge more than is necessary.
When chipping, putting your weight forward is essential for a clean hit with a wide arc. You want to make sure your weight is a little forward toward your left side for the right hander, or right side for the left hander. Consider your weight distribution about 60/40, front foot to back foot. This will cause your low point to move further back. With the low point moving further back, if your weight is too centered you’ll bottom out before the ball. As a result, you have to get your weight forward.
Hands & Arms
Once you are set up over the ball, focus on keeping your hands and arms quiet as you rotate your body back and through. When gripping the club, ideally the left arm and the shaft will create a straight line from the lead shoulder to the club head. Try to keep your hands slightly ahead of the club face. It is ok if the shaft is more vertical, so long as the hands do not move behind the club head at address. If the hands move too far back, you will expose the leading edge. This can lead to thinned shots or over-correcting and increasing steepness in the backswing.
With a better understanding of the fundamentals of chipping and pitching, here’s a better way to know whether your shot should be a chip or a pitch.