Thanks Kevin. I've tried the Runyan method. I agree with what you said on all points. I did find that on tight lies I wasn't precise enough; the toe could grab and cause problems. Given that plus the need for the chitch shot as you called it, I stuck with a conventional chip. I think if I would have practiced the Runyan method more I could have done fine with it. Given some more time, I would like to add it to my game.
I've also begun to simply putt anything on the fringe or nearby short fairway apron. I used to be scared of doing that but like anything it takes some practice. I'm gaining a lot of confidence there and 90% of the time it is a better outcome than a chip. And a poor effort is miles better than a poor chip. If the grass is a little too long for the putter, I'm using a hybrid. I find that if I choke WAY down on it, so my lower hand is completely on the shaft, it is about as long as a putter. That makes the stroke to be more like a putt as far as effort.
Before I switched to putting as much as possible, I was using the many clubs, one stroke method of chipping. Now the ones I have to chip or chitch seem to boil down to either my 54* or my 60*. I've become a lot better with those two clubs.
Bob Rotella has a somewhat provocative view on the short game. He ranks the priority of mastering the skills as 1) pitches, 2) sand shots, with chipping being a distant 3rd. This flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom I have always heard and believed. He says the same thing I found for my own game, that putting and hybrid-ing from off the green has greatly reduced the frequency of truly needing to chip. In my game, I have a lot more mini pitches than anything else, so I agree with him on those two counts. I often play rounds where no true chips are required.
Grudgingly I have to agree that sand shots are more important that chipping to my game. Now do you have any sand tips? This year I truly suck in the sand. Last night I hit a par five greenside bunker in two, and took an eight! On the final hole.