Shot selection is critical; I guess I do not have to tell any of you reading today’s post. Every shot has multiple options and selecting the right one can either lead to success or disaster. Additionally, there is no one rule that applies to all shots because of the plethora of factors that can affect each shot. Yet, I do have a guideline I use that helps me select the right club to perform the right type of shot.
My guideline is very simple, pick the club that will leave me with a putt. I know this sounds very obvious, but I have learned over the years that trying to play a delicate shot generally leads to another chip or an extremely long putt. Let me show you what I mean.
After two shots on an uphill par 5, I was left with 30-yard uphill shot to a pin that is just 5 steps on the green. This green is two-tiered and the second tier starts approximately 15 paces past the pin. So, the real question is do I want try a dedicated shot with high risk/reward or a shot with a greater percentage of being successful.
I have four options: lob wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge. Of course I could use any club, but my wedges are the obvious choice. Keeping in mind that I want to ensure I am putting after this shot. Here is how my thought process went:
Pitching Wedge. Using this club, I would drive the ball to about 5 yards before the green. The intent is to have the ball skip up onthe green and roll towards pin. Unfortunately, the ground is extremely wet and there is a better than not chance of my ball just stopping very close to the landing area. If I tried to launch the ball further up the hill, there is a very good chance that my ball would roll to the back of the green.
Gap Wedge. This is slightly better choice of club. I would hit the ball to just before the green in order for my ball to stop at a reasonable distance for a good putt. If you look close at the picture, the green rises very quickly just before the green. To make the ball stop close to the pin, I would have to hit into the bank, but this is a very low percentage shot. In the summer when the ground is hard, this shot might be the one of choice.
Sand Wedge. At first, this is my shot of choice. But to land the ball close to the pin, I would have to land my ball between the front of the green and the pin. This is a reasonable shot, however the possibility of misjudging my distance increases the risk to this shot. I feel comfortable attempting it, but it is not my high percentage shot I need to ensure that I am going to have a reasonable putt for birdie.
Lob Wedge. This is the club I used to make this shot. At 30-yards, this is a 1/2 to 3/4 lob wedge. My intent will be to fly the ball to the pin. If I am a bit long or a bit short, I am in good shape for a putt. As it turned out, I was a bit long and my ball came to rest just short of the seconded tier. I had a 45 foot putt that I lagged up to within 3 feet. I made the second putt and walked off the green with a solid par.
Selecting the right club is challenging at the best of times. Most of my errors occur when I try to get too cute and under play my shot. By ensuring that I have a putt left after my chip is a fundamental premise of my short game. It works very well and gives me the greatest percentage a making the next shot.
When faced with a short chip, do you have a specific routine that helps you in most situations? If so, please share.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.