Turn Three Shots Into Two
Use these simple chips to become a scoring machine
Whether your skills are strictly amateur or allow you to keep pace with any single-digit handicapper, you’ll never reach your true potential as a golfer unless you learn one of the game’s great tricks: turning three shots into two around the greens. In other words, you must find a way to become a scorer. Scoring is what separates the better players you know from everybody else. Taken to a higher analogy, it’s what separates the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh from the rest of the players on the PGA Tour.
Furthermore, it’s what will ultimately help you reach your potential as a golfer. Isn’t that what this great game is all about—the number in the scorecard beside your name? To go from an average golfer to a scoring machine, use the following greenside plays. Perfect these shots and you’ll be well on your way to joining the ranks of the scoring elite.
Every golfer is bound to miss a green or two (or three or nine) during the course of a round, which always presents a challenge to your scoring ability. Regardless of your driving and long-iron skills, if you can’t get the ball close to the cup (and sometimes in it) when you do miss a green, your scores are going to skyrocket like a popped-up lob wedge. However, if you can make the most of a green missed, you’ll keep bogeys at bay and maybe produce a few birdies, and that’s when scores really begin to plummet. The key to turning three shots into two is assessing the lie and selecting the right shot. For most situations, the High Softie, Mid Trickler or Low Runner should do the trick.
The High Softie
A tilt of the shoulders (so the right sits higher than the left) and a neutral shaft position help create the extra loft the High Softie requires. However, don’t make the mistake of trying to “lift” the ball into the air. Your setup and the loft of the club will take care of that. Like you should on every short shot, hit down and through.
When you’re faced with the daunting situation of having to chip to a hole cut very close to the fringe, opt for the High Softie. Unlike the other two chips we’ll discuss in this story, the High Softie presents a good amount of risk and quite a bit of challenge. But from the rough, you should be able to enjoy consistent success. (If the lie is tight, go ahead and use your putter.) The High Softie helps the ball land like a potato chip on a lake. It’s a great scoring play when there’s little room between you and the pin.
To execute the High Softie, position the ball more forward in your stance. More important, tilt your right shoulder lower than the left. This will effectively add loft to the shot and help it fly higher than normal.
As you tilt your shoulders, be careful not to lean the shaft away from the target. The clubshaft should lie perpendicular to the ground. The vertical shaft position allows you to make maximum use of the bounce of your wedge (the rear portion of the sole that helps the club to skid, rather than dig, when it hits the ground). This effectively lessens the chance of mis-hits and increases the loft on the club and shot.