For golfers ranging from senior to junior, building a solid short game is essential to low scoring.
One shot needed around the green is the basic chip-and-run. There are other shots which can be learned such as the high lob utilized by short game superstars such as Phil Mickleson. These shots, however, take a lot of practice and are high tariff. Seniors must build a reliable chip-and-run technique before moving on to more advanced short game shots.
What is a chip-and-run?
A chip-and-run is a low running shot played with any club throughout the bag. Higher lofted clubs like a sand wedge will run less than a lower lofted club like a 6 iron, but any club can be used to play a chip-and-run. The correct club selection will depend on how much roll is required.
How to play a chip-and-run:
1. Take hold of the club and grip a little further down the handle to increase control.
2. Set the club face square to the ball to target line. You want to envisage where the ball will land and how much you wish it to roll out.
3. Take a slightly narrower stance, with the ball positioned just back of centre and set the feet slightly open to the target. This pre-sets the lower body for impact. The shoulders should still be parallel to the ball-to-target line.
4. Push the hands forward of the ball opposite the front thigh. Leaning the shaft slightly towards the target will help ensure a clean contact with the ball.
5. Place about 60% body weight on the front foot.
6. Swing the club away with the arms and try to keep wrist movement to a minimum.
7. At impact, the hands should return to a similar position as they were at address, slightly ahead of the ball.
8. Keep your swing approximately the same length back and through.
9. Through impact, keep the left wrist firm; don’t flick at the ball with the right hand.
A great way to feel a correct chip-and-run technique is to use the mental imagery of a bench. Imagine a low running bench just before the putting surface. Get the feeling of chipping shots under the bench.
The senior golfer should be able to keep the left wrist firm and gain a more consistent strike letting the ball run out to the hole.