Defining the 'Chip-In' in Golf

The "chip-in" is type of golf shot that sometimes results purely from luck, but the odds of scoring a chip-in increase dramatically as one's short game improves. A golfer makes a "chip-in" by, natch, chipping the golf ball into the hole; by playing a chip shot that ends with the ball in the cup.

Another way to say a golfer has chipped in is to say, "She holed her chip shot," or "He holed out the chip." A chip-in is a hole-out from a chip shot.

And there is no such thing as a bad chip-in. Whether a chip-in results in a birdie or a quadruple bogey, it still results in a score that is, at minimum, one stroke less than had the golfer not holed the chip shot.

The term "chip-in" has been around for a long time. A 1919 issue of Golfers Magazine, reporting on the 1919 U.S. Open — which ended in a playoff win by Walter Hagen over Mike Brady — reported that, "Brady's only chance now was to chip in from the edge of the green. He made a gallant try, but his ball stopped just two inches to the left of the hole ..."

Two of the most-famous chip-ins in golf history resulted in major championship victories. The one shown in the video at the top of this page was by Tom Watson on the 17th hole of the final round of the 1982 U.S. Open. That chip-in out of greenside rough propelled Watson to the win over runner-up Jack Nicklaus.

The following video shows Larry Mize winning the 1987 Masters by chipping in from 140 feet during a sudden-death playoff:

Chip-ins are rare, great thrills for recreational golfers and high-handicappers, but they really aren't that uncommon for the world's best pros.

There are many golf formats and betting games in which chip-ins can win the game or the bet for a golfer who makes one. These include games such as Chippies, Nasties and Auto Win.

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