Okay, so you’ve missed the green by a few feet and are left with a fluffy, unpredictable lie. Situations like this aren’t uncommon here at Poipu Bay in Kauai (and probably your home course too), but with a quick pointer on greenside chipping, I think I can help you get up and down more often than not from this tricky position. How? With the most versatile and forgiving club in your bag.
When you miss the green and find yourself with a tight, fluffy or unpredictable lie near the green, ditch the wedge for a hybrid club (if you’re one of the few not using a hybrid club, try a high-lofted fairway wood). The hybrid, which has become known for its remarkable versatility, can help you hit a shot that produces the same result, no matter what the lie. A wedge, however, may pop the ball up high, promote roll or cause the ball to check up. (Or worse yet, in a fluffy lie like I have here, the wedge can slip completely under the ball, causing an embarrassing flubbed shot.) With the hybrid, you can almost always guarantee the ball will get airborne a few inches and immediately start rolling toward the target.
To hit this shot—no matter what the lie—simply adopt your putting stance. Choke down on the shaft to a comfortable position, place the ball and your weight slightly forward of center in your stance and glide the clubhead across the grass as you would with a putter. The thick sole and low weighting of the hybrid will help brush through the turf with the needed momentum to prevent a flubbed shot, and the enlarged sweet spot will minimize twisting and distance loss should you hit the ball slightly on the heel or toe.
When you’re ready, make a putting stroke and be sure to play for plenty of roll, as the ball will get airborne momentarily and begin rolling in a hurry. (This shot tends to be more effective with at least 10 yards of green between you and the hole.) Remember to read the green as you would a putt, and play the break. With some practice and experimentation, you’ll soon find using the hybrid to be one of the most effective ways to get the ball close from off the green. Mahalo!
Craig Sasada, PGA, is Director of Golf at the beautiful Poipu Bay Golf Resort on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. For more on the resort, as well as all of Kauai, visit www.kauaidiscovery.com and www.poipubay.com.