Written by Burgess Hill Teaching Pro Graeme Crompton >
Having coached for over 32 years I have helped many golfers with their shots from around the greens and one observation of this is that too many of them try to play a fancy, lofted shot, when there is nothing wrong with rolling it along the floor with a putter.
I make the analogy with athletics. Running is easier than Hurdling, which in turn is easier than the High Jump.
When eying up your shot, ask yourself whether you need to lift the ball? If the answer is no; then putt it (Running); if the answer is yes, then ask yourself how high? If you only need to lift the ball over a small obstacle and it can then run to the hole, take an 8 iron (Hurdling). If you have to lift the ball high or stop the ball quickly, then there is no alternative, you will need to use a lofted club such as a Sand Iron and play the lob shot (High Jump).
The Chip and Run is in my opinion the easiest shot in golf, whereas the Sand Iron lofted shot is the hardest. My reason for this is not so much about what happens when you hit the ball well, but the complete opposite: when you hit a Sand Iron correctly the ball lifts high into the air and lands softly “Like a Butterfly with sore feet”! However when a sand iron is struck too low on the clubface the ball shoots forward and travels much further than was required, when a player hits a longer club such as a 4 iron correctly the ball travels a great distance, but if the same player strikes a 4 iron too low on the clubface the ball travels a shorter distance than expected. Therefore, somewhere in between a Sand Iron and a 4 iron there must be a club which travels the same distance when struck both correctly and slightly thin……. the 8 iron will do this.
The Stance: Based on a right handed golfer. Firstly you should stand with your feet not too far apart, aiming about 30 degrees to the left of the hole (this is due to ball position), next push all of your weight onto your left foot with the ball positioned opposite your right foot and your shoulders and clubface aiming at the hole. Finally, push your hands forward until your left arm and the shaft of your club become a continual straight line.
The Swing: Gently does it; simply using the principle of landing the ball 1/3rd of the total distance of the shot and rock your shoulders to make a pendulum type swing, keeping the club in line with your left arm.
How to judge the distance: This is my favourite bit. Hold up or down the shaft to increase or decrease the length of the pendulum and change the length of your shot, the longer the club the longer the shot and vice versa. Aim to the hole and not at the hole! Short shots are more like crown green bowling and not ten pin bowling.
Distance or Direction? Distance, every time! It’s fairly easy to get the ball on line, but often these shots end up well past or well short of the hole, leaving you with a mid length putt, however if you get the distance correct, it is unlikely that you will be that far wide of the hole, thus resulting in a shorter putt.
Try it and you will never go back to your old method.