Tossing the Ball on the Green

Putting and chipping are very personal skills in golf. I do not think any two players think, scrutinize or execute these shots in the same way. Over the years, I have used a simple drill that helped me judge the speed of the greens before I place a club in my hand. Within in 5 minutes, I have a very good understanding on how the ball will release, whether the greens are soft or hard, and if the greens are running true. Interested? Then keep reading.

Jeff Hutchinson Chipping at the Tee It Up for Mattawa Charity Golf Tournament 2017.

The drill I use is straight forward. I stand on the collar and underhand toss balls on the green towards a pin. I repeat this from varying locations and distances, but never more than 3 steps off the green. I know this drill is used to teach junior players and as a more experienced single digit handicapper, it has great value for me as well. Here are a few things I learn by doing this 5 minute drill:

  • The firmness of the greens – I can tell by the bounce of the ball and how it releases. This piece of knowledge will help with club selection later in my round.
  • Receptiveness of the greens – I put a bit of backspin on the ball to see how the greens react. This will help with my aim point and how aggressive to play my shots.
  • Grip pressure on the ball – the tighter I grip the ball before the toss the harder my ball lands. I like to know if I have to use a feather touch or a more direct hit while chipping; the results of this information helps me determine if I need to loosen my grip while putting and chipping.
  • Watching the roll of my ball – if I hit my target line, does my ball run true. Are the greens smooth or bumpy? I can see how does my ball react to the grain of the green and adjust accordingly.

These 4 points are valuable when preparing for a round of golf. As a member, I play the same course many times through the year and I have found that the greens change over the course of a season. Therefore, but doing my 5 minute drill once a week, I stay attuned to the course conditions and feel more confident when chipping and putting. Do you use anything like my toss drill to “get a feel” for the course conditions?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

2 thoughts on “Tossing the Ball on the Green

  1. Jim, great drill there. I first learned of it in Greg Norman’s ‘Shark Attack’, but have not implemented very often. You have an excellent point about conditions on the greens changing, even at your home course. They do and the drill is an excellent preview tool.

    Thanks for the reminder!


    Liked by 1 person

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