My Golf Instructor

The Putt - Chip
When You Should Putt But Can't

Use the Putt-Chip shot when you should putt but can'tPutt-Chip when you Should Putt but Can't

We have all been taught to putt the ball as a first choice whenever you can. It just makes sense. It has the highest percentage for success and is much easier to control than a chip shot. Most people will tell you that even an average putt has a better chance of getting close to the hole than a good chip shot. When you are on the edge of the green and have a good lie, but for one reason or another either can't or don't think you should putt the ball, the putt-chip is the best choice.

Some reasons why you may not want to putt include:

  • A ball mark is in your line
  • A divot is in your line
  • You are going against the grain
  • It is downhill, fast and you need a little backspin to get the ball to stop

The putt-chip is a perfect choice as the ball will loft just a bit and then come out with a soft roll. It will have some backspin and tend to stop easily. That is very different from a bump and run which is a more aggressive shot with top spin. With the putt-chip you can forget about things like carry and spin and know that your ball is going to have a controlled roll out towards the hole.

The Situation:

You have a good lie next to the green, but something is telling you shouldn't putt the ball (i.e. there is something in your line or you are into the grain). You need the ball to come out slow and controlled with a little bit of initial loft.

The Solution:

You can use any club in your bag to hit this shot. Just like the bump and run shot if you need more roll, pick a lower lofted club. If you need less roll and more backspin, pick a higher lofted club. Because practice time is limited, I always recommend perfecting two clubs. Maybe a pitching wedge for shorter shots and a 7 iron for longer shots. These can then be your fall back clubs. If you practice using all your other clubs enough that you are confident to use them on the course then go ahead. Note that you can also control the distance by monitoring the length of your stroke. Set up exactly like you are holding a putter. That means the same grip, eyes over the target line and probably choking down as your iron will be longer. Stand square to the target line with your feel, knees hips and shoulders. Play the ball in the center or slightly back of the center of your stance and lean on your front leg 60%.

We want our weight forward to make sure we are hitting down with a descending blow. This is what makes it different than a putt other than you're not using a putter of course. Because you will be more over the ball your club shaft will sit on a steeper plane and the heel of the club may be in the air. This is o.k. as hitting the ball off the toe is something that many players actually do intentionally here. The reason being is that the shot will come off even more dead and stop softly on the green. Simply make your putting stroke. Do everything exactly the same as you do on a putt. The club and the set up will make the difference for you.

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?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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