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Golf Articles by Nigel Gibson (PGA Professional Kingston Heath, VIC)

Financial Review Article 17/8/00

From off the green a chip shot is a better bet than the long putt.

I see many club golfers opt immediately for the putter whenever they are looking to run the ball onto the putting surface. This is a good decision when the you are just off the green and the pin is only a few metres away but maybe not the best option when the pin is a long way from you on a large green.

Generally around the green is a fringe when often is quite a deal slower than the green. The difficulty of the long put from off the green is that you need to get your ball through this slower grass and all the way back to the pin. To do this you will need to hit the ball quite hard. Most of the time I see the club golfer come up short on these shots, as it is difficult to hit the ball hard and have any control over the shot.

When you chip the ball with a 6 or 7 iron the ball will spend some time in the air generally over all or most of the fringe grass. As the ball hits the green it will also be bouncing slightly which stops the ball being slowed up from the friction of the ground. Therefore you will find that you don’t need to hit the chip shot as hard as you would the putt which in turn gives you more control over the shot.

Now I know that many of you pull out the putter because you feel you can not duff the shot as you might with a chip shot. However if you set up correctly this will never occur. On a few occasions I have written about the set up for the chip shot, so if you have forgotten the main points you will find them below.
· Narrow your stance and lean 70% of your weight onto your lead leg.
· Hands in front of ball keeping left arm and shaft in one line.
· Ensure your arms are fully extended and the club is hovering slightly over the grass.
· Set the ball slightly behind the sternum.
· Swing the club head back and through using no wrist. Just like a putting stroke with a slightly downward blow.

Once you practice this shot you will never take that putter out for that longer approach putt ever again.


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