Chip Better Today

What is it: Scrambling tip

Who it is for: Poor chippers

Your ball is in the light rough just short of the green, but the hole is on a black shelf about 50 feet away. Should you chip the ball and roll it to the hole or try a high pitch and fly the ball all the way to the pin?

Unless your last name is Mickelson or Woods, forget about hoisting one of those big-swing flop shots--it's unnecessary and ups the odds for a miscue. Even if you catch it clean, it will have big-time backspin, so if you land on the slope it will roll back down.

Take advantage of all that green by getting the ball rolling as soon as you can. Chip the ball about 10 feet onto the green and send it up the slope like a putt. It's a lot easier to make solid contact with the short swing you'll need, and your distance control will be a lot better, too. Chip with the right club by considering the ideal carry-to-roll ratio (below). Which club should you use?

  • If you need equal parts carry and roll (a 1:1 ratio), reach for your sand wedge.
  • A pitching-wedge chip will roll twice as far as it flies (1:2); a 9-iron is 1:3 and so on.
  • Since the shot needs 10 feet of carry and 40 feet of roll, and 8-iron (1:4) is the perfect choice.

IM MURPHY teaches in Sugar land, Texas

To go to the Instruction Home Page, click here

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