So there you are—another decent shot has missed the green, and you have a problem: You have no confidence in your ability to play a chip shot, but the ground is too rough for your trusty putter. Fortunately, you have another option; you can use one of your hybrid clubs to play the shot. Here are a few tips to help you put a good stroke on the ball and leave yourself a short putt.
Benefits of a Hybrid
The construction of a hybrid gives you some advantages when chipping. The longer shaft of a hybrid means that it takes less effort than a putter or wedge when you need to cover a longer distance, so you can concentrate on where you want the ball to go. And the hybrid’s wider sole does more than keep the bottom front edge of the clubhead from digging into the ground; it helps prevent the head from hanging up in thick grass, which makes it easier to keep the clubface pointed at your target. These qualities eliminate many of the chipping faults that plague players.
From Tight Lies
If the grass is fairly short but the ground is rough and/or you are more than a foot or so off the green, your hybrid may be a better club choice than your putter. The slight loft of the hybrid will get the ball above the top of the grass without putting a lot of backspin on the ball. Grip down a couple of inches on the hybrid, using your putting grip, and set up as if you were going to make a normal putt but with one difference: Move the ball slightly farther back in your stance—no more than an inch or so. This will insure that you make a slight downward strike on the ball, which will get the ball over the grass, but the ball will stay lower than a normal chip and start rolling quickly.
Up Against the Collar
If your ball is sitting on the shorter grass of the apron around the green but is resting against the tall grass behind it, many players try to hit the center of the ball using a wedge—an unpredictable shot, even for a skilled player. It is easier to hit this shot using a hybrid. Using a normal chipping technique—grip down on the shaft with your normal chipping grip, play the ball back in your stance and make a steeper stroke on the ball—the larger head and sole of the hybrid will let you pop the ball forward without getting the head stuck in the thicker grass behind the ball.
Long Bump and Runs
Running the ball up the fairway or over humps in collection areas can be simple with a hybrid. Position the ball in the middle of your stance and make your normal chipping or pitching motion. The sole will keep the clubhead from digging into the turf, and you should make solid contact with the ball.