Tips from the Pro
May 24, 2006
The simple solution to choosing the correct club and shot for shots from around the green.
In assessing which club and type of shot to play from around the green, look at how far you need to carry the ball versus how far you want the ball to roll. In chipping, we want to get the ball on the ground rolling as soon as possible. If you are a few feet off the green, you only need to carry the ball that distance to reach the green. Select a nine, eight or seven iron and let the ball release and roll across the green. Example: If you are on the edge of a green and have a lot of green to work with, use a seven iron as it will roll farther than a nine iron. In preparing for the shot, read the green for your line and treat the shot as if it were a putt. To execute the shot, hold the club an inch down on the grip, play the ball back in your stance with your hands a touch forward. With 60 to 65 percent of your weight on the front foot, be sure to accelerate through the golf ball. Provided the acceleration through the shot is consistent, the back swing will determine how far the ball will travel on the green. I encourage golfers to try this shot on the practice green and experiment with different clubs to find out which one they feel more comfortable with.
If the shot calls for more carry and less roll, use a club with more loft that will land softer on the green. The pitch shot requires a club with more loft that will pop the ball into the air and have little roll upon landing on the green. Lob (60 percent), sand (56 percent) or pitching wedge will all work for this type of shot. For a starting point, the pitching wedge will generally carry 50 percent and then roll 50 percent of the total distance you need the ball to travel. The length of the swing will need to be longer than that of the chip due to added loft of the club. Remember, if the acceleration through the ball is consistent, the length of the swing will determine how far the ball will fly through the air. To help with how far to carry the ball, pick a spot at which you would like to land the ball. To execute the shot, play the ball in the middle of your stance, hold the club an inch down on the grip and swing with a smooth accelerating motion.
All players, regardless of skill, want to play the game with more efficiency. Spending time on the practice green experimenting with these tips will help you with your play on the course.
Ben Sinclair is a PGA member and golf pro at the Park City Golf Club.
For information on lessons and tee times, please call the golf shop at 615-5800.