Low, running shots around the green should be hit like putts.
A low, running chip is often an effective play around the green. Incorporating elements of your putting into the shot can help you execute it more reliably.
- Grip the club like you would your putter. What you don’t want for a running chip shot is too much initial carry (something easily created by a wrist cock on the backswing that results in loft and spin). Note that gripping your wedge or iron with your putting grip forces you to initiate the motion with your arms, not your wrists.
- Stand closer to the ball at address. Make that distance similar to what you’d use for putting. Doing this causes the club to sit substantially more upright than usual, promoting a straight back-and-through move as opposed to swinging more around your body like a regular swing. With enough practice, this motion can achieve a more consistent path and better help you gauge both your carry and roll distances for each club.
- Keep your weight on your front foot, narrow your stance, play the ball off of your back foot and push your hands forward. Taking each of these steps can also promote more consistent contact.
- Just as you might do for your putting (and you should do it if you’re not), pick a spot on the green right in front of you where you want the ball to land. That’s your primary target. If you calculate correctly and hit the ball with the correct amount of force, it should roll out like a putt to the hole — your secondary target.
Practice is especially important for this shot because you need to know your distances prior to executing it on the course. Once you have that knowledge, this can become a powerful weapon in your short-game arsenal.
Eric Lohman was an accomplished junior (scratch handicap since age 12), amateur (Washington State Amateur Champion), collegian golfer at UCLA. Now he is a high finisher amongst the best players in the Southern California PGA and has qualified for the past two PGA National Club Professional Championships (2014 & 2015.) A Nike Golf and Matrix Golf Shaft Advisory Board Staffer, Eric is also a master club fitter, works with some of the finest golf fitness professionals, and is the PGA General Manager at Monarch Beach Golf Links, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed and nationally recognized golf facility.