Don’t be afraid to fly it high!

By Jaco Stander – Senior PGA Golf Professional at Yas Links Golf Club

You’re just off the green but still too far away to pull the putter out, so do you bump and run it, or fly the ball in the air? It’s a common question we often find ourselves with when we’re just off the putting surface. I’ve hopefully got the answer for you which you can take with you to the course next time you play.

In my lessons at Yas Links Golf Club, I’m often encouraging amateurs to keep the ball low to ground to minimise the chance of a mistake. With a shorter iron, a small swing can often pop the ball up just enough and get it rolling along the green in no time. We’re blessed with fantastic facilities here so can always rely on the greens being perfect for this type of shot.

Take the trouble on the green out of play by chipping it

It’s worth remembering though, you’re going to need a lot of green to work with to get the best result from a bump and run. The green also needs to be relatively flat. If you have this shot in front of you, then this is undoubtedly the shot I would advise you to play. I would go as far down to seven iron, depending on how far away you are and the green’s speed.

However, my advice changes if the green is undulating and has unpredictable slopes as seen in this image. While it could still be a sensible option to play a bump and run, it introduces more variables and now you have to pay more attention to your green reading ability. This is when it becomes trickier, and I would consider using a higher lofted club to fly it high.

As you can see here, I’m nearly on the green, but my preferred shot is still to get the ball airborne

Granted, this shot requires a greater level of skill and is harder to execute, but if done correctly, it can pay dividends. But still, why am I suggesting this? If you have ample green to work with but have to navigate a significant slope, gauging the green’s speed will prove challenging. My preferred approach is to aim for a softer landing in these situations.

This shot also requires the right mindset. I know I’m not the only one who’s once had a short 20 yard chip over a bunker, just to duff it straight in the trap. The same is here with the thought of thinning it over the back of the green and miles away. Confidence is everything in this game, and that often comes with enough practice, so give it a try!


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