Published on by Gordon McCallum

Pitch, Chip or Putt?

"Should I Pitch, Chip or Putt?" This is a question I'm often asked during short game lessons and clinics. It"s a great question and one which really has many answers.

The first thing to understand is what the difference between the three strokes is.

1) The Putt is a stroke made with a Putter (mainly on ,but not confined to, the green). The ball stays on the ground after being struck.

2) The Chip is a stroke made with generally a 7 or 8 iron where the ball flies low after being struck and then rolls on the ground like the Putt.

3)The Pitch is a stroke made with a lofted club like a wedge or sand iron, where the ball will fly quickly high and will stop relatively quickly when it lands on the green (hopefully!)

Which club or shot to use depends on the situation, how far you are from the hole and how confident you are with each. First of all asess the situation - my thinking is always if you can use the Putter then use it. It is the easiest of all the three strokes and because the ball stays on the ground and the swing is shorter then not so much can go wrong. It may sound simple but always, always play the percentage shot.

If the grass between the ball and the hole is uneven or long but the ground is relatively flat then play a chip shot. I would only play a high lob/pitch shot when I have to carry the ball over something e.g. bunker, water or thick rough.

How to play a chip and pitch shot will be talked about at a later date but for now a practise drill: Go to the Practice Green with all your clubs from a 7 iron through to the Putter and about 10-15 balls. Go round the green from different situations and play shots with each club concentrating on how the ball reacts with each one. How far do they fly? how far do they roll? how much swing do you need? which club gives you the most consistent result?

The next time you play on the course give a lot more thought to these shots and on how the ball will react with different clubs. Improving your short game is the quickest and easiest way to improving your score.

Happy Golfing, Gordon