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The Bump and Run
Your Basic Green Side Chip Shot

The Bump and Run Chip ShotThe Bump and Run

When you say "chip shot", the majority of golfers envision the Bump and Run. It is by far the most commonly used chip shot in the game. It is nothing fancy, but it is oh so useful! A Bump and Run is basically your traditional green side chip. It is the "smart shot" to play in most cases. Just like the name suggests, you simply bump the ball onto the green and let it roll up to the hole. The idea is to keep the ball as low as possible, only lofting as much as necessary to get over what lies between you and the putting surface. Loft after all, can be dangerous.

When you shoot the ball up into the air, you are now dealing with wind, the uncertainty of what your ball will land on and what type of kick you'll get when it comes down. You have to land it perfectly on your target spot and hope that you are able to control the type of spin that you put on the ball. Using the slope of the green to your advantage like you do when you putt is not possible when you are flying the ball all the way to the hole. Also to make the ball go higher you have to make a bigger golf swing, which of course invites more room for error. So you can see the logical reasons for keeping the ball low and rolling it are numerous.

But why then do so many amateurs try to flop the ball up in the air when they are close to the green? Why would they choose a more difficult shot and one that has much lower percentages? I believe the answer lies simply in the fact that they are mis-informed. Often golfers will listen to their buddies on the weekend rather than take lessons on the short game. The highlights of the latest tournaments don't help either. While tour players often use the Bump and Run, what's shown more often on television are the exciting and risky flop shots that the most skilled players in the world actually get lucky enough to pull off!

The Bump and Run is a Smart and Effective Shot

While attending the Western Open in Chicago one year, I witnessed a shot that I wished every one of my student's could have seen. It was a short par 3, the 2nd hole and Ian Poulter had just missed his ball off the back of the fringe. It was lying a foot or so into the short rough. He had approximately 20 feet to the hole and slightly down hill. Of course the greens were slick. The average player thinking that they would have to stop the ball would grab a lob wedge and try to flop the ball up in the air with a lot of backspin. Ian however, grabbed a 6 iron out of the bag. I knew at that moment exactly what he was going to do and wondered if all the spectators around me knew that he was about to hit one of the smartest shots in golf. He then proceeded to bump the ball about 2 inches into the air and about a foot forward. It hit the edge of the fringe and rolled perfectly down to the edge of the cup. A classic Bump and Run. The ball barely got airborne. His touch was amazing and the shot should have been a great lesson for those observing.

The Situation:

You are anywhere from a few feet off the green to approximately 30-40 yards back. You need a shot that will help you to carry the ball a bit (preferably onto the putting surface) with a low trajectory and then release and roll up to the hole. Lofting the ball is not necessary as there isn't any major trouble like sand or rough between you and the green.

The Solution:

You can use any club in your bag for a bump and run. The more you want the ball to release and roll when it hits the ground, the lower the loft you should use. If you want the ball to come out just a bit higher with some backspin, choose a club with more loft. The size of the pendulum swing that you make will also influence the distance. Play the ball center or slightly back of center for most shots. This is a preference however. If you want the ball to come out with more loft, simply play it left of center. If you want it to come out low and hot with more roll, play it further back. Choke up on the club an inch or two for more control. Stand with your feet one club head apart from each other. Take your club head and turn it sideways to measure this. Set up square with your feet, knees hips and shoulders. You can set up a bit open, but again this is a preference, not a necessity. Place 80% of your weight on your front foot and keep it there. Make sure to feel as if your head and chest are over or slightly in front of the ball. This will help you to hit down with a descending blow. Forward press your hands a slight bit. I like to place mine at the middle of my front thigh. Now simply make a one piece pendulum stroke just like you would if you were putting. Allow your hips to make a small pivot towards the target. Make sure to hit down on the ball finishing with a flat front wrist and club head low to the ground.

Being heroic is always a rush, but it doesn't help your score. What I want you to do from now on is play the intelligent shots and watch your scores plummet. The Bump and Run is not only smart, it can be used in a number of situations. Other than your full swing and your putting stroke, it is a stroke that you must absolutely master.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
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