Stop Fighting With Your Short Game

- Golf is hard enough and yet amateurs do plenty of things to make the game even harder. 

That goes double for around the greens. 

Bristol Harbour's head pro John LaCrosse says too many players try to swing hard and hit the flop shot they see on the PGA Tour. They only thing that ends up flopping is their score. 

LaCrosse teaches a simple bump and run that limits the damage of bad shots and can make most mid to high handicappers more consistent around the green. 

The set up is an open stance, but the hands are key on this shot. "I'll lay my hands just about over my left thigh," LaCrosse says to keep them in front of the clubhead. "When I swing, I'm just trying to lift my hands and my shoulders and my arms. I don't want a big hip turn. But, I will not break my wrists. When you break your wrists, you create way too much clubhead speed for a (chip) shot."

The backswing is only a foot or two up with the hands and LaCrosse says to try and pinch the ball--hit so impact is just barely on the bottom of the ball first, just above the ground. The shot should jump just a little and quickly get rolling towards the flag, so players must read the green like a putt to play it close.

It's important to keep the hands in front of the club head throughout the shot. Not breaking the wrists will make sure this happens. However, when moving the hands forward don't open the clubface. LaCrosse says to "roll" the hands forward to keep the club face pointed at the target. 

Golfers will hit short chips shots or bump and run's with a variety of clubs. Some will change clubs depending on the length of the shot. LaCrosse usually sticks with the same stick. 

"My favorite is your standard 56-degree, your standard sand wedge," LaCrosse says. "If I have to go longer, maybe 50-60 feet, I'll go down to a gap wedge, sometimes a pitching wedge."

If you do stick with the same club, varying the distances should be kept simple. 

"You don't have to hit it any harder or any faster. Just a longer swing," LaCrosse says. "And make sure you finish on (your left) side, just like any shot."

LaCrosse is like many pros who lament an amateur's approach to a session at the range. They take too much time with the long shots that are rarely used and not enough time with the shorts ones that are used on every hole. 

"Take a bucket of balls. Go out and chip that bucket of balls as many times as you can. THEN hit 'em (at the range)," LaCrosse says. "Everybody does it backwards. They hit all the balls out of the basket and then they have nothing to chip with."

This shot doesn't have to be used within 15-20 yards from the pin. LaCrosse goes to it 30-40 yards away from the green as long as he's in the fairway with no trouble between his ball and the target. LaCrosse says he has a member at Bristol Harbour that swings an 8-iron in this fashion from 150 yards away with success. 

It's a different swing, so it does take practice to gauge the touch required for varying lengths of chip shots. It does reduce the chunks and flops that flop barely onto the green. When done moderately correctly, this bump and run always gets the ball onto the green in the direction and vicinity of the target. It allows for a reasonable chance to get up and down, without too much hyperventilating. 

What amateur doesn't need a shot like that?


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