More recreational players need to master this shot, says top teacher

a golf ball on the green

Recreational players can get a lot better by practicing and mastering this key shot, says one of GOLF's Top 100 Teachers.

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You’ll hear a lot of golf instructors preach about clubs recreational players shouldn’t use (3-wood!), but what about clubs they don’t use to their advantage?

Mike Malizia, the director of instruction at The Club at Admirals Cove in Jupiter, Fla., has an answer: you need to master your hybrid. But no, not as a full-swing club (although that’s great too), he’s talking about around the greens. And he says it’s “absolutely” a better option if you struggle with chipping.

“Most amateurs have rescue clubs, but they don’t use them around the greens as much for that bump and run,” said Malizia, while at the GOLF Top 100 Teachers Retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month. “My rule of thumb is that you should putt it when you can putt it. But if you are faced with a 40-to-70-foot shot, if you use a hybrid it’s going to come off much faster than a putter.”

Many golf instructors love this shot because using a hybrid when just off the green can get the ball up and over the rough, but also have it land quickly on the green and get a nice rollout, much like you would with a putter.

Malizia said there’s two parts to pulling off this shot: the mechanical aspect, and then having the skill set to do it.

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“A lot of people want to know how to hit the shot, but that doesn’t mean they can pull it off because they have to practice it,” he said. “You are not setting up like a putter. You are setting up like a chip shot. But you are using the stroke of a putter. So what I mean by that is your hands and arms are using a putter motion where you aren’t using a lot of wrist. Your body isn’t turning a lot. But as far as the setup, feet are together, fairly close, weight is on your lead foot. Lower body is staying stable and it’s just a rocking motion.”

Malizia said the ball position should be center or slightly back. “We are trying to get this ball on the ground and rolling as fast as possible,” he said. “You can choke down a bit, but to where it feels comfortable.”

One final tip from Malizia: observe the lie.

“What will the lie allow you to do?” he says. “That’s a big, big thing. But if the ball is sitting down and you have the ability to run it, run it.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at