Do I Putt, Chip or Pitch

You've missed the green, and there's a decision to make: What type of shot do you need to play next? Do you putt, chip or pitch?

That choice depends on a couple of factors. Before we get to that , let's go through the differences between chipping and pitching.

How many times have you watched a tournament, seen the player stroke from 30 yards off the green and heard the announcer exclaim, "What a great chip shot!"?

Wrong! That 30-footer was a pitch, not a chip.

Chipping is a stroke with no wrist-cock - less "air time" and more "ground time." Think of it as a putt with a lofted club. Pitching is a lofted shot, played with a cocked left wrist; it has more carry and less roll.

Playing from the off the green, the average golfer should try to putt if possible. If the ground is too uneven or the grass is too tall, then chip. But if the ball cannot safely carry to the green with a chip-length stroke - "safely" meaning at least one pace onto the green - it's time to pitch.
What's the length of a chipping stroke?

The length of a chip stroke is about two feet in both directions. Starting from address, the hands go to the middle, or just slightly outside, of the back thigh.

On the forward stroke the hands go past the front thigh while maintaining the left arm and shaft in one straight line (Flat left wrist, Bent right wrist). Never try to scoop the clubhead under the ball in an attempt to get the ball airborne.

Let's say your ball is just off the fringe of the green. Will the chip-length stroke get you at least that one pace in from the front of the green? If it won't, you'll need to pitch to reach safely.

Use this formula and your short game will improve.

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