Using one basic motion, you can eliminate guesswork and hit the ball close from just about any greenside situation. I call this the "chitch," because it combines the low chip-and-run with a higher pitch shot. Its trajectory is in between, which makes it a great go-to short-game play.
When to play the chitch
You can hit this shot inside 30 yards of the green or whenever you have some green to work with and the ball is not in sand or deep rough.
You should choose a club based on the carry-to-roll ratio you need. To fly the ball half the total distance and let it roll the final half, use a pitching wedge. A 9-or 8-iron will carry about one-third the distance to the hole and roll about two-thirds. I recommend taking no more than a 7-iron, which should fly the ball about a quarter of the way.
Play the ball one inch back from the middle of your stance, because the chitch should always roll a little. Your hands should be in line with your left heel so the shaft of the club leans forward. This setup encourages you to make contact while the club is descending.
Make the backswing and follow-through mirror each other and equal in length. For the standard 15-to 20-yard chitch, swing the club back to thigh height. On longer shots, you can swing back as far as chest high. Resist the urge to use a lot of hand action--control the swing with your arms and shoulders and turn your body through the shot.
Donald Crawley is director of instruction at The Boulders Golf Resort in Carefree, AZ.