If you have tried to research anything information on switching clubs when chipping, I am sure you have encountered a plethora of options, techniques, and possibilities. While warming up before yesterdays round, I went through my normal routine of placing my ball in different depths in order to practice using different clubs to the same distance. My technique is very simple. The deeper the rough around the ball, the higher loft club I use to ensure I make clean contact on the ball. It works very well and it something that I can control on a regular basis.
From the image above the red line indicates the height of the rough. Regardless of which yellow flag I use for practice, selecting the proper club is generally based on the lie of my ball. Of course you can substitute which club suits your game because it is important that you adopt my technique to your game.
For the discuss below, I was hitting at the flag on the left about 10 paces from the ball. My intent is to produce contact to ensure the ball rolls towards the flag as quickly as possible to simulate the roll of a putt.
In the case of the 7 iron, the ball is sitting up and offers very little opportunity for grass to bet between my ball and club face. This is my preferred chipping option and I use it as much as I possible can within five yards of the green. With the ball sitting up, hitting a seven iron allows my ball runs along the green quickly and acts very much like a putt. I even hold my hands in my putter grip with the heel slightly off the green. This club selection does not work for the other two lie options because the grass will prevent clean solid contact.
In the middle option, a pitching wedge is my choice because I can drop the leading edge of my club onto the ball with little chance of catching much grass. This option provides a bit more of a descending swing path, but offers an opportunity for me to easily hit the ball a bit higher, but get the ball on the green relatively quickly to produce the roll out I prefer. Of course I can use this club for the first option, but a much higher loft will ensure, hence a different shot all together.
In the last option, I prefer a sand wedge. My eight degree bounce wedge allows for the leading edge to drop tightly at the ball with little chance of the grass getting in the way. This descending swing pops the ball out at a low trajectory and gets it rolling quickly towards my intended target. This particular shot has a bit more of a hop to the ball, but that is expected.
Using different clubs to produce the same rolling putt is a technique that I have developed over the years. It works very well as long as I pay attention to the lie of ball. As a reminder, the longer the grass, the more loft of club I use to produce a rolling ball towards my target. This is the cornerstone of my short game and practice this technique constantly. I think if you give it a try, you will find that it really is a stroke saver.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Switching Clubs From Different Lies When Chipping”
Jim, excellent recommendations on club selection and technique. How do you play shots from greenside rough where the ball is 2-3 inches below the surface, i.e. a very poor lie?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Brian, that answe depends on so many factors. Generally I use a gap or sand wedge depending on pin location and how poor of a lie. The odd time a lob wedge if I am really short sided.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s certainly a valid set of options you’ve chosen. I don’t think I would do the same though. I really never use the pw and up unless distance requires it or I have an uphill lie into the grain. I find the hotter faces on the bigger clubs more difficult to get fine control of distances and prefer my wedges whenever possible.
At that distance pictured, I’d be using the sand wedge for all three most likely. What I would change is how I set up to the ball for the three shots. The one sitting up I’d keep middle stance. I’d try and give a swing length that would just kick it over the first cut and let it run on home.
For the other two, I’d move the ball progressively back in the stance the deeper it sits. And I’d adjust swing length to help pop it up and throw it farther. The extra swing length will add speed and thus spin so for the one in the middle, I’d likely try and throw it halfway there. It should end up with a little check but still run out the other half. And for the deepest ball, I’d try and throw it just short a couple feet and rely on the extra spin to make it one hop and stop.
What I find as my big mistake with this approach is usually underestimating the amount of spin which leaves me shorter than planned. But that’s not a terrible mistake. I’m under the hole, and with my nightly practice distance being 9 feet, I have a lot of room to miss and still feel confident over the putt I left. I just need to worry about my read.
But when you miss a green short in the throat down here you will often find yourself hitting into an uphill slope. And that almost guarantees you’re hitting against the grain as well. Wedges are going to be trouble unless you can engage the bounce perfectly which the uphill slope makes more difficult. So my 8 or now my hybrid will sometimes be employed in that situation. I’ll choose based on the terrain, how much slope, what the grass is like, things like that. The smoother the surface, the more apt I’d be to use the hybrid. But if I need more loft because the ground is patchy or something, I’ll go for the 8 iron. Less chance of deflection and both clubs can glide over the grain with ease and don’t get grabbed nearly as easily.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Your methodology is sound. The variation of club seelct varies from player to player. The important part is that you do no use the same club regardless of the lie, terrain or pin location. That is the key message of the article.