Private Lessons: Pop It On with Your Putter

December 8, 2016

Your approach shot runs off the green and settles in tall, thick grass just off the fringe. Chipping out with a wedge may seem like the only move, but if you lack wedge-play confidence from heavy grass, fat or thin contact is possible. Good news! There’s another option that takes less effort and is chunk-proof. Prepare to see your putter in a whole new light.


Set up with the ball outside your right foot and your clubshaft and hands ahead of your zipper, pointing toward the target. Hinge the putter up slightly with your wrists, then drop the head into the back of the ball, maintaining the forward shaft-lean at impact. The ball will pop onto the putting surface and roll out just like a chip. Practice this technique to get a feel for how much hinge you need to hit the ball the needed distance. You may never want to use your wedge in thick greenside rough again!

Wedges can be tricky out of heavy greenside grass. When set up properly, your putter is a simpler, more reliable option.

The key to this shot? Make a sharp, downward blow into the back of the ball. It helps to play the ball outside your back foot and press the grip of the putter forward, toward the target.

Once you’re set up properly, hinge your wrists sharply so that the putterhead makes an almost vertical move into the air. You don’t want a sweeping motion on this shot.

For most green complexes, you probably won’t need to take the shaft back very far to get the needed distance. But no matter how hard you hit it, don’t follow through — let the ground stop the putter post-impact.