Greens with separate tiers or levels are the bane of many amateur golfers. That goes double when a chip shot must traverse one tier to reach a pin on the other, requiring a deft combination of judgment and touch.
Most two-tiered greens feature a lower level in front and a higher one in back, though they’re sometimes configured side-to-side. When your ball is just off the lower section and the pin is on the upper half, you’ve got a couple of options:
- Play a chip-and-run that flies low, lands on the bottom section and rolls up to the top.
- Hit a high-lofted shot that carries onto the top shelf and stops quickly.
The first option is generally much easier to execute since it doesn’t require you to carry the ball a precise distance with the height and spin to make it stop. When playing the chip-and-run, always remember your primary goal: to get the ball onto the same level as the flag. The last thing you want is to leave the ball short, on the bottom tier, leaving a long putt of the same difficulty. A less-lofted club, such as a mid-iron or hybrid, will produce a low chip with little spin and maximum roll.
When chipping from a higher level to a lower one, carrying the ball to the bottom tier isn’t usually an option as you may be unable to keep it on the green. Therefore, you’ll need to chip onto the top tier and let the ball trickle down the slope to the hole. The primary objective is the same as when chipping uphill – to get the ball onto the same section as the hole for a makeable putt – so be sure the ball reaches the edge of the top tier with enough speed to send it down the slope.