PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Short Game

Play the chunk-and-run

November 10, 2009

With courses being set up more and more like U.S. Opens, especially the nasty rough around the greens, it pays to have a diverse short game. That's why I've developed a technique -- I hope enhanced by good touch -- for the chunk-and-run.

As the name implies, I will intentionally hit the shot fat and allow it to run out. I play it kind of like a bunker shot in that I hit behind the ball an inch or two, depending on the severity of the lie and how far I want to carry the ball. I grip the club -- most often my 60-degree wedge -- a little tighter than usual to ensure the clubface stays open through impact (left). I position the ball slightly behind center in an open stance and set up with most of my weight on my left side, like I would on a basic chip shot.

As far as the swing goes, the key for me is to make a more vertical backswing than usual. I want to be sure my wedge clears the grass going back and sets up a firm strike on the ground. I let the thick grass abbreviate my follow-through. My goal is to roll it to a makable distance, unless I'm lucky enough to hole it.