WHO: Adam Scott
WHAT: A holed-out 18-foot putt-chip from the fringe for a birdie
WHERE: 180-yard par 3 12th hole at Firestone Country Club
WHEN: Final round of the Bridgestone Invitational
Scott played what I call a “putt-chip.” That’s a little shot around the green in which you use a putting stance and swing to hit a soft, low, running shot. The putt-chip that Scott holed at 12 was crucial because it gave him some breathing room and a two-shot lead, which he never relinquished.
THE DRILL: Use your putting posture, grip and stance. Your eyes should be directly over the target line, and you should stand as far from the ball as you would with a putt. You can use literally any club from a wedge to a fairway wood, though most players use a mid to high iron.
There are only two differences between a putt-chip and a real putt. One is the club. The second is that you don’t want a level stroke at impact. Instead, you need to contact the ball with a descending blow. To do that, lean your torso a little toward the target at address so your weight is more over the target-side foot. Don’t modify your stroke. The target-side lean will naturally create a steeper swing arc.
Remember, the only source of power with a putt is the rocking of your shoulders. The same is true with the putt-chip. Be sure to keep your body stable during the stroke. Finally, remember that the putt-chip is only for balls around the green with good lies. If the ball is sitting down in rough, you can’t hit a chip-putt because you’ll need to exert too much power to gauge the ball out of the rough.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher John Elliott teaches at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Ill.