Mastering these 2 shots will make you a wizard around the greens
One of the reasons the best players in the world have such amazing short games is that they all know how to proficiently hit at least two different shots with the same wedge. The secret to doing this isn’t as complicated as you might think. It’s all in how well you can control your clubhead radius when you swing.
Let’s first look at the standard chip-and-run, which is a shot where the ball launches low and rolls out toward the target. To hit this shot correctly, you need to keep your arms extended as you swing back and through, creating a wide clubhead radius and the needed shallow angle of attack into the ball. Doing this also helps produce a lower trajectory with the ball coming off with less spin. As for your body, keep it fairly steady. If anything, hitting a chip-and-run should feel a lot like you’re putting. The less you sway and rotate the body, the better your results will be.
To hit a standard pitch shot, hinge your wrists as you start the club back. Unlike the move in the chip-and-run, this one narrows the clubhead radius, encourages your body to rotate and your hands to release through impact. Expect this shot to fly high and spin a lot more. If it feels like your normal swing when hitting this shot, you’re doing it right.
Two club radii, two very useful shots around the greens. Over time, experiment with different swing lengths to dial in height, roll and distance depending on the situation.
Chris Mayson is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and is the director of instruction at Maderas GC in Poway, Calif.