Most golfers know that in order to shave strokes off your score, you have to perfect your chipping and pitching. Practice makes perfect when you have a short shot of 50 yards or less. You will have to experiment with which club to use, and how far to take the club back to achieve the distance you want.
The Pitch Shot
To make a pitch shot, use high lofted club and a shortened version of your regular swing by taking the club half way back and half way through the ball. For a 50-yard pitch shot, place the club flat on its sole and square the club to the target line. Your feet will be less than shoulder-width apart and your body will face slightly to the left of the target in an open stance. Position the ball in the center of your stance and lean forward with your knees flexed. Your weight will be forward toward the balls of your feet and slightly to the left. Place your hands in front of the ball. There is some hand movement as you come through the ball on impact. Your body will face the target at the finish. The distance you achieve will vary with how far you take the club back, so practice to become consistent with the pitch shot.
The “Bump and Run” Chip Shot
The goal of the chip shot is to position the ball on the green so that you will have a makeable putt. For a short chip shot of 30 yards or less from the hole with no hazards between the ball and the pin, use the “bump and run.” With this shot, the ball is “bumped” onto the green and it “runs” to the hole. Select a lower-lofted club like a 6-, 7- or 8-iron to attain a lower trajectory. Position the ball toward your back foot away from the hole, and keep you legs closer together. The face of the club is not opened. Grasp the club firmly with your hands ahead of the ball and use a downward swing, hitting the ground and the ball at the same time. Follow through by hitting through the ball.
The Flop Shot
You may often find yourself close to the pin with a hazard or rough grass between the ball and the pin. To hit over the trouble, use a more lofted club. Open up the club face and hit under the ball for a higher trajectory. Lean into the shot and flex your knees, keeping an open stance. Pick out a spot where you want the ball to land, cock your wrists and keep your left wrist straight as you hit through the ball. Ideally, the ball will have a high trajectory over the hazard and onto the green for a perfectly positioned putt.