How’d He Hit That: Simpson’s Tricky Chip In

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Webb Simpson 59 in his sights thanks in part to an eagle chip-in on the 12th hole of his opening round at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, this week’s PGA Tour event. Webb came up short of the magic number, but posted a 9-under par 61, which was good enough for the first round lead.

His chip-in on the 12th — just one of his spectacular shots — is worth taking a harder look at.


The Old White TPC is in great shape. The lush green conditions translate to long greenside rough and sticky fringes. By that, we mean the fringe has enough growth that it can grab and impeded the club at and before impact, making greenside shots that much more difficult.

Most amateurs, given the same shot, would see the amount of green and opt for a lower, running pitch. What Webb and other Tour players do is always remember to analyze the lie and how the shot will react on the putting surface before settling on the trajectory and club. 

Next time you face a chip but the ball is nestled in a thick lie, try a similar shot to what Webb executed perfectly.


Modified Flop/Pitch From Greenside Rough

  • Set up further away from the ball than normal; this lowers the hands and allows the bounce of your wedge to help in the shot
  • Align yourself square to the target with an open clubface — this is slightly different than a flop or high pitch. We do not want the club facing the target because the club being open allows us to implement more of a cutting motion down, under and across the ball
  • Minimal wrist hinge is needed on the backswing and a wide swing is desired to help the slicing motion through the impact.
  • At impact, you should feel the ball slide up the clubface because the face is open to the target and path; this will help impart enough spin to control the ball’s run out, but not deliver enough force to risk a big miss
  • Finish with your weight balanced on your lead side and upper body facing the target. The arms and hands should be low and around the body signaling the club cut under the ball properly
  • The length of the backswing will control the height and distance of the shot, while the lie will dictate the amount of spin you can put on the ball
  • Just like Webb, strive to have the ball acting like a putt as it approaches the hole