When you get close to the green as we see in this diagram, proper club selection can make your shot a lot easier. Our goal is to help you make the right decision.
First of all, always remember a golden rule when hitting a golf shot (especially in the short game): if you can’t see it, you won’t be able to hit it. This diagram should also help you “see” the right shot to play. In each of these situations you can click on it for more details (and video) as to how to hit the shot.
A) chip and run with a 7 iron or even a 5 iron (video)
Here the pin is way to the back of the green and you have come up a little short. You are going to want to run the ball back to the pin. You do this by choosing a lower lofted club like a 7 iron or even a 5 iron if the green is real big. Take a standard chipping setup position and the club does all the work to get the ball rolling. For distance control, I like imagining that I am lag putting here and I like for the wrists to stay soft–let the wrists “play” a little. This will help get the ball rolling even better.
B) off fringe with PW (video)
This is the classic chip shot. With a pitching wedge, your ball will fly about half way to the hole and roll half way to the hole, depending on the speed of the green. A properly struck ball will land and skip a little because of the backspin that you put on it. It will then finish off rolling toward the hole. Don’t forget to read the break as you may have a chance to hole this shot with practice.
C) just in rough with sandwedge (video)
This shot here is virtually the same as the previous except the ball is in the rough. Because of the rough, you will want to take a more lofted club– the sandwedge. You can play this with a slightly open clubface to help get more spin on the ball. Hinge the wrists slightly so as to have a steeper angle of attack. Land the ball about half way to the hole and it will roll the rest of the way.
D) behind the bunker with lob wedge (video)
This shot has become easier since the invention of the lob wedge. Before the lob wedge, players had to really open the clubface and “cut across” the ball–that is line the feet up way left and swing across the target line. With the lob wedge, you can still use that technique a little if you feel like it is needed to get the ball higher, but it shouldn’t be too dramatic. Play the ball slightly on the inside of the left foot. Hinge the wrists and hit down int the rough. Make sure that you stay down on your shot. The ball will “flop” out of the rough, flying most of the way to the hole. There won’t be much roll once it lands.
Here the ball is just lff the back of the green and you don’t have much green between you and the hole. You need to chip it on the edge of the green without much roll once it lands. This is a great spot to hit a little chip shot with the lob wedge (or sandwedge if green is soft). Chipping with a lofted club like a lob wedge puts a lot of spin on the ball. Once it lands it will not roll far. Make sure that you make a short, crisp stroke and that you accelerate through the ball. Most people get nervous and decelerate on these shots. Don’t make that mistake.