Minimum Air Time
It’s important to remember that the whole point of the game of golf is to get the ball in the whole in the least number of shots. That’s why this cautious approach to the short game makes good sense.
Firstly, if you are just off the edge of the green and the grass is in good enough condition, then use the putter all the time. The phrase that sums this up: a bad putt works better than a bad chip. I know that sounds a bit negative. However, if you make a mess of a putt, then you still expect to end up on the green. Whereas a badly played chip could be a disaster.
Let’s take this concept a touch further. When you are faced with a short shot to the hole from quite near the green and there is no obstruction in your way, take the 7 iron and run the ball along the floor as much as possible. The phrase for this situation is “minimum air-time”. Again, if you miss hit a chip with a 7 iron, and it rolls along the floor, that’s not the end of the world. After all, you were intending the ball to spend most of its journey along the floor. On the other hand, If you miss hit your pitching wedge, the end result is more unpredictable. You could even end up further away from the hole after you played the shot, than you were before it. We’ve all done it.
I spend a lot of time taking groups of new golfers round local golf courses and I have two main objectives: they have fun, and they get finished before dark. Both can be threatened by too much pitching around the green!
By Jon Woodroffe: Master Professional – World of Golf London