putting style chip 1

Here's the situation: Your ball lies a yard or two off the green, with the pin no more than 20 feet away but straight downhill, and a very fast surface to contend with. You could chip, you could putt – or you could use a combo shot called the chip-putt.

The chip-putt lands the ball softly, just on the green, allowing it to trickle slowly toward the hole. Here's how it's done:

  • Take a lofted club, anywhere from an 8-iron to a lob wedge depending on the distance.
  • Grip down a little and address the ball using your putting stance, grip and arm position. The club should be slightly more vertical than for a normal chip, the ball in the middle of your stance.
  • Here's the key: address and hit the ball toward the toe of the club, which will deaden impact and help land it softly.
  • Use your putting stroke to brush through the ball with a descending stroke (don't try to lift or scoop it into the air).

This method can take the fear out of swift, downhill chips, and keep you from stabbing the ball several feet past the hole.

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Most golfers have a love-hate relationship with fast greens.

Putting-Style Chip Comes in Handy on Fast Greens

Courses with fast greens tend to have a reputation for having 'good greens', as most golfers equate fast with good when it comes to putting surfaces. However, while players flock to courses known for their greens, the actual experience of playing on fast greens can be quite stressful. Your ball can get away from you in a hurry when playing on quick surfaces, so it is important to have excellent control over your short game shots in this situation. Most amateur golfers don't have that kind of control, and they wind up wasting strokes throughout the day as a result.

In this article, we are going to offer up advice on one type of shot you can use to help you play better on fast greens. You might think first about the putting challenge that comes with quick greens, but it is often chipping that is even more difficult. Controlling your chip shots is necessary if you are going to get up and down and keep your round on track. With that said, if you mishit the ball even slightly when chipping to fast greens, the shot may run away and wind up well beyond the target.

This is where the putting-style chip shot comes in handy. When you know how to play this simple shot from just off the edge of the green, you will be able to gain a measure of control over your chip shots that you would not have had otherwise. You can't use this shot all the time – we will explain when it can be used – but it is good to know how to use it when the opportunity does arise.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Why and When

Why and When

Any time you add a new shot to your golf game, it is important to understand why you would use that shot, and when you would put it into action. A big part of success on the golf course comes down to using the right shots at the right times, so this is a natural place to start our article. When we are finished with this section, you should have a clear understanding of the benefits that come with playing these types of shots. Also, you should have a better idea of when this shot is called for, and when you will want to go in another direction.

Let's start with the 'why' part of the equation. What is it that would motivate you to play a putting-style chip onto a fast green? The list below will shine some light on this question.

  • Lower your risk. Generally speaking, putting-style chip shots – often referred to as bump-and-run shots, are going to present less risk than a traditional chip shot. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, when you play a putting-style chip, you are going to be keeping the ball down low to the ground. There is less that can go wrong when the ball stays down near the turf, so right away your overall risk on the shot is going to be lowered. Also, it is easier to make clean contact when playing a putting-style chip, so you don't have to worry as much about mishit shots throwing you off track. Too many amateur golfers opt to hit high chip shots when such a shot simply isn't called for in many instances. You will want to have a high chip shot in your arsenal, of course, but often your best bet is to play this simple kind of shot down low along the turf in order to let the ball run up to the hole.
  • Deal with nerves. Chipping the ball cleanly is a difficult task even when you are practicing and feel no pressure at all. When you get out on the course and add some nerves to the equation, however, things get even tougher. If you are facing a chip shot during a round and you are rather nervous for one reason or another, consider playing a putting-style shot to give yourself a better chance at success. This works because of the lower overall risk we mentioned in the point above. You will know that less can go wrong when using this technique, so your mind will be able to relax a bit and you'll be more optimistic about your chances. Some golfers make the mistake of trying to 'ignore' their nerves, but that is never going to work. Nerves are real in golf, so you might as well acknowledge them and learn how to play well in their presence. By adding a putting-style chip shot to your game, you will have somewhere to turn when the pressure of the day starts to do bad things to your short game.
  • Knock it in! You might get the impression from the comments we've made so far that this is a conservative, play-it-safe type of shot. And to a certain extent, that is true. However, in addition to taking some of the risk out of your chip shots by using a putting-style technique, you can also increase your chances of making this shot from off the green. Chipping in is not something that amateur players tend to think about as a real possibility, but you can raise your odds by getting the ball down on the green and rolling toward the hole. When your chip shots run out like putts, they have a great opportunity to drop in – assuming the line and speed are both correct, of course. With other types of chip shots, such as those which bounce up toward the hole and stop quickly through the use of spin, there is less of an opportunity for the ball to fall in the cup. Chipping in is always a nice bonus and using the putting-style method may help you see this result from time to time.

There are plenty of benefits to using the putting-style chip shot. In reality, the list above could be extended beyond three points, but we will stop there as you've probably gotten the point by now. Moving on, we would like to turn our attention to thinking about when you should opt for this shot. What kind of situation is right for a putting-style chip? Again, we have provided a list of points to review.

  • Short carry distance required. This is where you will need to start. When facing a chip shot from any position around the green, one of the first things you need to think about is how far the ball will have to carry before it reaches a suitable landing spot. For a putting-style chip to be a viable option, you need to have only a short carry distance required for the shot. If you need to carry the ball more than a few feet in the air – at the most – this type of shot just isn't going to be a good fit. The putting-style chip is meant to keep the ball down near the turf, using only a short carry before the ball lands and rolls out toward the hole. If it is going to be necessary to carry the ball over some rough or even a bunker, you will have to opt for another chipping method.
  • Don't need spin to stop the ball. With a putting-style chip, the ball is only going to come to rest as a result of running out of momentum. The shot will be rolling on the green toward the hole, just like a putt, so backspin is not going to be a factor in getting the ball to stop. That's fine in most situations, but it won't work all the time. If you are playing down a relatively steep slope toward the cup, you may need to play a chip shot which uses backspin to help the ball come to rest. There are some situations where playing a putting-style chip will inevitably lead to the ball rolling off the other side of the green – or, at least, well beyond the hole.
  • A clean lie. Finally, we need to point out that this shot is most effective when played from a clean fairway lie. You may be able to make it work from some light rough, but most of the time you'll want to restrict use of this shot to the short grass. Since you are using putting-style technique without hand or wrist action – more on that later – you aren't going to be able to move the club through the rough very effectively. When you do face a chip shot in the rough, you'll probably want to employ a technique that allows you to use your hands and wrists to propel the clubhead through the grass.

We've covered a lot of ground in this section, but you should now have a good understanding of both the why and when involved with the putting-style chip shot. There is a lot to gain by adding this shot to your bag, and it is relatively easy to spot opportunities to put it into action. If you don't already know how to play this shot, considering working on it in the near future as a way to diversify your short game.

How to Play a Putting-Style Chip

How to Play a Putting-Style Chip

At this point, it is time to get down to the business of actually hitting some shots. While the putting-style chip is a rather simple shot, you still need to make sure that you understand the basic fundamentals before getting started. When you head out to practice this shot for yourself, keep the following points in mind.

  • Use your putting grip. It stands to reason that you should use your putting grip when you are going to play a putting-style chip shot. Most likely, the putting grip you use is designed at least in part to keep your hands and wrists quiet – which is exactly what you want to accomplish during this swing. The grip might feel a little unusual on the handle of your wedge, since the grip doesn't have a flat side like your putter grip, but you should get comfortable with it soon enough. Also, since your wedge is a bit longer than your putter (most likely) it is a good idea to choke down an inch or two from the top of the grip at address.
  • Square up your stance. When playing a standard chip shot, you likely use a slightly open stance, which is a good idea. An open stance can help you get the ball up into the air, and it can help you create a bit of extra backspin. However, those are not good things when trying to play a putting-style chip. You don't want to create backspin here, and you don't want to get the ball very high up into the air. So, keep your stance in a square position to the target line, just as you would when putting.
  • Ball in the middle or slightly forward. You need to avoid placing the ball behind the midpoint of your stance when playing this shot. Again, this comes down to avoiding backspin. If you move the ball too far back, you'll wind up hitting down at impact and you may produce too much backspin as a result. The idea here is to simply pick the ball cleanly off the turf while the clubhead moves parallel to the ground. To make that happen, play the ball in the middle of your stance, if not slightly forward of the middle.
  • Keep your head down. This is classic golf advice, and it certainly applies here. This is the type of shot that seems to tempt golfer into looking up early, and you'll need to avoid making that mistake if you want to be successful. The easiest way to keep your head down is to focus your eyes on a specific spot on the top of the golf ball. Watch that spot intently and only allow yourself to look up after the ball is gone.

One of the great things about this shot is its simplicity. As you can see from the list above, there isn't too much to learn when trying to get started with this shot. As the name would indicate, you are basically using your putting technique while holding a wedge (or another iron). Since the technique is already familiar, don't be surprised if you get comfortable with this shot after only one or two quick practice sessions.

Other Options: To wrap up, we want to point out that the putting-style chip is certainly not the only shot you want to have in your short game arsenal. Some other important shots are listed below.

  • Standard chip shot. This is a chip which has a mid-level trajectory, a moderate amount of spin, and can be played from a wide variety of lies. You should consider the standard chip to be the foundation of your short game.
  • Flop shot. The flop shot gets a lot of attention, but you don't actually want to use it unless you have no other option. This high-risk shot involves opening the face of your wedge and making a big swing in order to launch the ball way up into the air.
  • Low pitch. When you have to cover more ground than is easily handled by a standard chip shot, going with a low pitch is a great option. You will carry the ball most of the way up to the hole and use spin to bring the ball to rest relatively quickly after it lands. You'll need a clean lie on the short grass to pull this one off successfully.

Adding the putting-style chip to your game is an easy decision. Not only is this shot valuable, it is also quite easy to learn. We hope our tips will help you quickly develop your own putting-style chip that can be used in upcoming rounds. Good luck!