pitch shot

The aerification and top-dressing of greens is a necessary evil of golf course maintenance. The process, in which holes are punched into the greens and a layer of sand spread over top, is used once or twice a year at most courses in order to keep the grass’s root system healthy.

If you’ve played greens just after they’ve been aerified, you know the havoc this can wreak. Besides the holes and sand, the grass must be allowed to grow extra long before it can be cut to regular length. The result: extremely slow and bumpy greens.

Naturally, you must hit putts harder on greens in this condition. But instead of applying the same logic to chipping, the better approach is to pitch the ball high so that it lands close to the cup. The green’s softened, slowed-down state will ensure that it stops quickly.

Let’s say you’re just off the green, 40 feet from the hole. Normally, you might choose a 7- or 8-iron for a shot that carries just onto the green and rolls to the pin. On aerified greens, choose the wedge you’re most comfortable with and pick a landing spot within 5-10 feet of the hole. (Closer if pitching uphill, farther if downhill.)

Now make an aggressive swing, secure in the knowledge that even if your ball goes past the cup, it won’t be far.