Chipping With A Fairway Metal
3 Keys for a useful shot from just off the green
1. Shorten the Shaft
From just off the green, I like to chip with a fairway metal, like a 3- or 4-wood. Why not just use a putter? Because a putter has only 4 or 5 degrees of loft, but a fairway metal has 15 or 20. The extra loft will pop the ball up just enough to let you carry it on -- a big plus for judging distance. The difficulty with the fairway-metal chip is, you have a long club but only a short distance to go. So grip down a few inches, even to the end of the rubber, to control the club for better touch.
2. Make a Putting Stroke
You don't want body movement during the swing, so start with your weight on your front foot, where it needs to be at impact. Everything else is like you're hitting a long putt. Stand tall, and even consider using your putting grip. The swing is just like a long putting stroke: Arms and shoulders, back and through. Don't try to hinge your wrists, but keep them soft enough to react to the motion. If your hands and arms stay relaxed, you can make a smooth stroke.
3. Keep the Clubhead Low
Feel as if you're making a level strike. Keep the clubhead low to the ground through impact, trusting the loft on the club to lift the ball. Remember, you're trying to get the ball only an inch or so off the ground. The hardest thing about this shot is gauging distance. Practice it to learn how hot the ball comes off the club.
Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco, Henderson, Nev.