The putt-chip is a shot that I encourage all of my students to learn at our golf school. It's easy, it's reliable, and even the pros use it to get up and down in a hurry. By keeping the ball low, you eliminate the need to worry about how much carry you need or how much the ball will spin. Instead, you can focus on distance and direction, two keys to hitting better shots. This shot uses the same setup as most short-game shots, starting with a good golf posture and 60 percent of your weight on your left foot.
The difference from a putt is that you need to use a short iron, perhaps a 7- or 8-iron, and you'll use your normal putting grip instead of your full swing grip. This automatically takes some of the wrist action out of the shot. With the ball positioned at about the middle of your stance, choke down on the club so that your iron feels about the same length as that of a putter. From this position, you might even see the heel of the club off the ground. This is a good thing because it helps prevent the leading edge from digging into the ground. Now you're ready to use your normal putting stroke by dominating the motion with your shoulders rocking up and down and letting your arms, not your wrists, control the clubhead. You should see the ball come off with little trajectory, hit the green and start rolling like a putt. Now with some practice, allow the length of your swing to dictate how far the ball travels. In no time, you'll be saving more pars with this simple, easy-to-learn shot!
Jon Paupore teaches at the Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges in Heber City, Utah. For information, visit redledges.com.