Have you ever wondered why so many professionals spend time selecting the right club for every shot? As an amateur, I watch in amazement as the caddie and player talk about all the outside influences that may affect the next shot. Since I do not have a caddie, ever, this conversation is between the voices in my head as I loop the course. Sometimes I over think things, but that is because I understand the possibilities afforded to me through proper club selection. I think that if all amateurs understood what each club did for their game, then they would be able to manage their shot selection with greater success.
For this article, I want to talk about the various shots any player faces around the green.
The chip shot is probably the one used by more golfers on most shots around the green. Any club can be used, but generally the 8 or 9 iron and higher are the standard clubs. As golfers develop their ability to chip, they do develop favourites. This is not unusual, but could limit your chipping possibilities by always selecting the same club in which to chip. Practice is definitely needed to understand how each club releases and from what distance to fully understand all your chipping options.
The bump and run club selection is interesting as well. The convention suggests that using an 8 iron is the perfect club for this shot, however, over the years I have found that this is not true for my game. The possibilities for this using different clubs is larger than the other shot types. In my case, I prefer a 7 iron, but will use a hybrid or any other club that offers the same shot characteristics of a bump and run shot needed to execute the shot I have in mind. The intent is to start the ball rolling as soon as possible and any low lofted club can accomplish this requirement. One point I think that is very important about the bump and run is that I use my putting grip when hitting this delicate shot. The softer feel helps control the roll out and accuracy of this shot.
The pitch shot is the most difficult for most amateurs. It requires more precision to execute. Most pitch shots are achieved by using their wedges. Personally, I carry four and use them for specific purposes. To produce the height and stop required around the green definitely requires some practice. However, it is a very effective shot when trying to hit over hazards such as bunkers, thick rough, or any obstacle that hinders the use of a chip shot. Depending on the club selected, the landing area will be affected the most. The possibilities are numerous when pitching the ball because of the delicate requirement to hit a smaller landing area.
Every shot around the green (within 60 yards) has a plethora of possibilities. Depending on which club selected, impact on the ball flight, landing area, and release are affected. The process of deciding which club to use is determined by the desired result and/or obstacles that need to be managed. Mentally, the possibilities of club selection around the green is the most taxing during the round.
If you are a player that relies on one club for all the above shots, I recommend you use all the clubs in your bag to select the perfect shot for the situation. By being open to using other clubs, the possibilities of how to play a particular shot are limitless.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “The Possibilities Of Club Selection Around The Green”
Great piece! AS much as I try go master all the shots around the green, i feel i score the best with using the one shot i master most, rather then try something i dont do well on the course.
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You are correct about many players sticking with which club works the best. However, if you continue to practice with other clubs around the green, you will find your game will produce better and more consistent results. Just a thought.
We should certainly practice using most clubs in the bag for our short game, but unless you’ve done the practice, it might very well be better to stick with just one or two clubs when playing.
I’d say just two clubs in my bag get 95% of the action when chipping/pitching. The sand and gap wedge do the lions share for me. Then again, I pitched on from about 75 yards today with my 9 iron rather than taking a fuller swing with a wedge. And I’ve done a lot of practice with other clubs around the green from just about every distance inside 80 yards.
Just because I’ve done that practice though and have a comfort level with other clubs doesn’t mean that I prefer them. I’ve got too much time in with the two wedges and have even more confidence with them. I chose that 9 iron today to do something different, not because I thought it best. I was ahead in the skins game and feeling generous and figured a little practice never hurt. As it happened, I lost the hole today. But that was the same hole I pitched in for eagle just two days ago from 49 yards. And I still tied for the win in the end thanks to a holed eagle putt on the last hole.
The only other thing I’d add is we have a different take on the difference between a chip and a pitch. A chip shot is a one lever shot. No wrist cock. A pitch adds some wrist cock to the equation which brings in the possibility of adding more spin too. The one hop and stop shot is a pitch. A bump and run is a chip. A lob combines the faster speed wrist cock brings with an open face to get the most height possible. Technically it’s a pitch because it’s a two lever shot. I got my definition straight from the PGA. I don’t see the original link anymore to where I saw it first long ago but here’s a link that discusses that: https://www.pga.com/story/the-difference-between-a-chip-shot-and-pitch-shot
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Thanks for the video. I watched the video and I see what they are saying. The reference I used dealt with ball flight and intended release. There are many subcategories of terms in golf that might be confusing and I definitely do not profess to know them all. But as far as the basics go, I think we both are correct.