Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Short Game Shots. A Decision-Making Process

This time of year short shots around the green can be treacherous.  If you don't have a plan, its easy to take a shot a few feet off the green, and turn it into a double or triple bogey.  

Below is a decision-making process for successful chipping and pitching around the green:

  •  Evaluate
    • Lie of the ball – 
      • Slope
      • Grass type - mowed or rough “hardpan”, etc.
      • Ball sitting up, buried or on an uneven surface
    • Carry to roll ratio
    • Slope of the green
  • Consider
    • Landing Zone
    • Trajectory
  • Use your imagination   
  • Visualize your shot & target
  • Decide & state your INTENTION
  • Execute
  • Evaluate

Lie/Club Option Matrix

  1. Lie - Closely mowed area (apron) smooth and/or similar speed to the putting surface.
    Club options
    :  Putter or SW through 6-iron   
  2. Lie - Closely mowed area (apron) but ball on uneven, bumpy and/or longish grass.
    Club options
    :  SW through 6-iron, hybrid with low loft or 3-wood (Avoid the putter.  It is not reliable in navigating the differences in grass resistance, e.g. longer grass vs. putting surface speeds)
  3. LieLight rough, just short of the apron
    Club options
    :  Lob, sand, pitching or gap wedges
    (Allow for "run" and aim for target landing area short of the hole)
  4. Lie - Deep rough
    Club options
    : Lob or sand wedges
    (Allow for "run" and aim for target landing area short of the hole)
Final thoughts:  Use caution when chipping off dormant Bermuda grass once it has matted down. It is very easy to "chunk" or "blade" the shot.  Consider utilizing a low-lofted hybrid club, e.g. 3- or 4-hybrid.  The mass and length of the club will move the ball quite easily through bumpy lies, up slopes or to multiple plateaued greens.  e.g. Tega Cay GC, Pines #2, 3, 8 or 9.

Never tried using your hybrid?  Its simple.  Grip down on the handle and imagine using a putter with a long stick. (No wrist hinging.)  You will notice the ball taking off the clubface briskly, but developing feel will come easily with a little practice.

Questions?  What's your story?  Tell it here.

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