Game Review: Chip-Down

Golf lovers, unite! Have to admit, we are not much of die hard golfers. Our new place is actually right next to a golf course and we have had some time to observe the golfing crowd, and ultimately gained a great appreciation for golfers. They are up at sunrise playing the course, mid day, and sunset. There is never a time where the golf course is simply empty! There’s always a good time to play golf and they will endure the heat to play. We’ve heard the motto that the “worst day on the golf course is better than the best day in the office.” Though we would maybe slightly change to say “the worst backyard game get together” or something like that, we still appreciate that people are getting out and participating in things they love to do! That being said, we’re still more likely to go mini golfing before real golfing.

Chip-Down is a great option for all you yard game players who love golf and backyard games. No need to pack up all your clubs and go to the course. Now you just need about 12 yards of space and Chip-Down! We like to describe this game as a cross between golf, skee ball, and badminton by chipping birdies into the targets, rather than rolling the ball up the ramp. Our golf loving friends have really enjoyed playing this game. Even us inexperienced golfers have loved the challenge. Overall, it’s still a game that we can participate in even though we have little to no golf skills.

  • Time to set up: 2-3 minutes. You’ll need to piece together the plastic pieces to create the three circular targets that fit together like a skee ball target. From there, you can grab the club and get playing. Once you’ve put it together a couple times, it only takes a minute to get set up.
  • Duration of game: Before we get into the details of score keeping while trying to say how long a round lasts, we’ll just give a general time frame that it took us after we got the hang of things. Once we could consistently hit the birdies in the target, rounds didn’t last much longer than 5 minutes. If you’re a beginner, we would suggest practicing before keeping score or else you might be playing for awhile.
  • Number of players that are needed/can participate: 2 or 4 players is ideal. With 4 players, you play 2 teams of 2 that trade off hitting for their team. Merek played by himself for fun and for a little bit of practice, so he wouldn’t look completely foolish in front of friends. Somehow, he still managed to lose! Still foolish… To be fair, he’s a lefty and they didn’t sell any lefty clubs at the secondhand store. Funny tangent: We bought a cheap, used club and after the first swing the head went flying further than the birdie. Nothing a little duct tape couldn’t fix. *insert duct tape advertisement here*
  • Where it can be played? Like we said earlier, this game can be played pretty much anywhere. Trees or cars may get in the way if you play in certain places, but that just makes the game more exciting. The turf pieces included with the game are placed 12 yards apart with the target in the middle, so that’s all the space you need. We recommend playing on flat surfaces because you don’t want to give any team an unfair advantage. We call it “leveling the playing field”…..literally…. I really hope you groaned at that one. Maybe a small laugh?
  • How to play? If you want a really in-depth explanation of the rules you can find them on their website at chipdown.com/pages/howto. To keep it simple, we’ll talk about how to play and then how to keep score. If you’re playing with 2 people then the competitors can take turns hitting their 3 colored birdies from the turf. We recommend hitting the head of the birdie with the club, with the tail facing towards the target. If you have 4 people then you set up the turf 12 yards apart with the target in the middle. Teammates stand across from each other and take turns swinging for the target. If you do any more or less than 6 yards from the turf to the target, then it will be tough to be consistent.

    For scoring: Rounds are played to 21. You get 1 point if you hit the target on the fly without landing it in any of the 3 zones. 3 points if you land the birdie in the outermost ring, 5 points for the middle ring, and 21 points/automatic win for landing the birdie in the bullseye. Besides landing the birdie in the middle, players have to get exactly 21 points to win. If a team has 18 points and then they get 5 points, they go back down to 15 points. Whenever you overshoot 21, you go back to 15. There are other rules about sudden death and giving the other team a shot at redemption when you get 21 points, but we found that it never really happened for us. If it happens to you…impressive…we can’t seem to get games that competitively close.

Backyard Buffs’ Rating: 16

Ease of storage/portability: 4. For those of you who have read our other posts, this is our favorite section to talk about whether or not a game comes with a cool drawstring bag. Chip-Down did not disappoint. The only downside is that the turf pieces are a little too big for the bag, so it’s hard to cinch it up all the way without bending the turf pieces. Other than that the other pieces fit well in the bag. The birdies come with their own container, so they aren’t just floating around in the bag. At first, we weren’t sure how to fit the plastic ring pieces back in the bag but we learned that you can put the pieces coiled up inside of each other.

Durability (packaging or game pieces): 4. Do yourself a favor and preserve the longevity of the game by not clobbering the birdies. Although driving/giving a nice, hard swing is apart of golf, it’s not recommended for this game. The birdies aren’t indestructible and we learned that the hard way from a friend who released their anger on an unsuspecting birdie. “Whoops” is right. Overall, the pieces that come with the game are durable. A suggestion to help save the birdies is: guide the birdie to the target, don’t wail on it. Bottom line: control the urge to flick your wrist like Wii Golf.

Friendly for all Ages/Skill Levels: 3. Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest game to play for people who haven’t played or cannot play golf. We have played with a couple people who throw in the towel after a handful of failed attempts and mishits. With a little bit of practice or some natural skill, most people can start scoring points pretty quickly. There are just some people who just can’t seem to get it. You know, kind of like people who start to read Twilight.

Fair Pricing: 5. Golf yard games are surprisingly pricey. For example Chippo and Putterball are two others that we have seen before; both regularly priced at $189.95. Chip-Down is MUCH more reasonably priced at $69.99, but even better, currently on sale for $49.99! Because of this, we felt that it deserved good score in this category!

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a fun golf game at a fair price, then Chip-Down is the game for you. If you’re willing to spend a lot more money and want a game that resembles playing golf, then the other golf games might be for you. But if you’re like us, you just want a game that you can pull out at a summer picnic that doesn’t need a flashy golf club to go with it. Your club might even have a little duct tape on it. That’s OK, we’re right there with you. We’re all about a little friendly competition and this game will give it to you. The rounds are usually close and every hit counts; further adding pressure to an already tough swing. With close games, sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool. But remember, if you ever have the urge to swing for the fences, just don’t. Birdie lives matter.

Celebration in Chip Down