Take Control of the Ball!
I think everyone knows the value of a good short game or as I like to call it “scoring game”, but I want help you increase your scoring by taking control of the ball with your scoring game. I always see people using a sand wedge or lob wedge when they are close to the green. Don’t get me wrong there is always a time for that club, but in most cases it’s the wrong choice. The more time a ball spends in the air is the less time we are in control of it. We are in control of the ball when it is on the ground and rolling.
Next time you go to practice, take out a wedge and 8 or 7 iron and spend some time chipping with those. The swing for the chip shot is the same as the putting stroke with some small changes in your set up. Put your feet closer together, a more open stance and weight on your left side. By using a less lofted club, you will be able to make a shorter backswing and the ball will land on the green and roll to hole rather than a longer swing with the ball spending all that time in the air. Think about like this, we get to be better players with the more shots we have in our bag and we are adding a shot to our bag with a higher percentage of success.
A good rule to follow when you miss the green is “Putt when you can, chip when you can’t putt, and pitch only when you have to”.
I hope this helps.
Randy Bensley, PGA Professional