lesson teeJuly 11, 2010

Picking A Club Around The Green?

Butch Harmon's Tips 1, 2 and 3 (from top left to bottom) for picking a club around the green.

Butch Harmon's Tips 1, 2 and 3 (from top left to bottom) for picking a club around the green.

1

How's your lie? From deep grass, sometimes all you can do is try to wedge the ball anywhere on the green. If you're in the fairway, you have options. A wedge might still be best, but often you don't need all that loft. Whenever you can, play a running shot, down to a fairway-metal chip. And if the ground is dry and smooth, putt it.

2

How much green do you have? On chips and pitches, land the ball on the green, because the bounce will be more predictable. If you have a lot of green to work with, take a less-lofted club and run it. The low shot is safer because you use a shorter swing, but make sure you don't inadvertently bring trouble into play -- like deep rough or water over the green.

3

How will the ball bounce? Look at two factors: the firmness of the green and any slopes. If the green is hard, a big bounce might make a wedge play like an 8-iron. The opposite might be true on a spongy green. Same thinking applies to landing the ball on an upslope or a downslope, where it can either die or take off. Try to picture that first bounce, and figure it into your club selection.


Butch Harmon* is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco, Henderson, Nev.*