A simple putting stroke with a hybrid club in hand is often easier to execute than more traditional means
There are so many ways to waste a stroke in golf. Slices, hooks, shanks, mishits, bad bounces or poor reads can all conspire to ruin an otherwise decent hole.
Among the most frustrating ways to cough up that extra stroke is with those seemingly simple chip shots from just off the green. Every golfer has been there. A decent, but slightly off-the-mark, approach leaves the ball in a place just off the putting surface that requires a chip.
You grab an 8-iron with thoughts of a par save dancing in your head. You then take a couple of practice strokes, set up to the ball, make your move, and alarmingly mishit the chip, dribbling the ball short of the green or watching helplessly as the ball rolls perilously past the flagstick.
“To me a traditional chip shot with a 7- or 8-iron creates too many opportunities for screw-ups by blading it, chunking it or anything else,” says Howie Pruitt, Aspen Lakes’s director of player development.
For such a short shot a whole lot can go wrong with a conventional chip shot. Part of the problem with such a chip is the complexity of it.
Golfers must put their weight on the their front foot, point the shaft of the club toward the front hip, and make an abbreviated putting stroke. That is hardly a natural swing for many amateur golfers.
Pruitt’s solution is actually quite simple, starting with the most important question a golfer must ask themselves when just off the green.
“The first question I ask is, ‘Can I putt it?'” Pruitt says.
If not, Pruitt recommends using a hybrid club instead of the more conventional chip with a short iron.
“So you can take a hybrid, like a 24-degree hybrid, and set up just like you were going to putt the ball,” Pruitt says. “The hybrid is going to give you just enough loft to get it up onto the green and rolling.”
A hybrid allows golfers to mimic their putting strokes, which is usually the most reliable swing in a recreational golfer’s repertoire. And hybrids can be particularly valuable when chipping from longer rough just off the fringe of the putting surface, Pruitt says.
The best news is that learning to chip with a hybrid is a breeze, Pruitt adds.
“These are just simple little shots,” Pruitt says. “If you can teach somebody how to putt, you can teach somebody how to hit this shot.”
Private, group lessons, classes and clinics with Pruitt are all available through the Aspen Lakes PGA Learning Center. Call the Aspen Lakes pro shop at 541-549-4653 for more information. To book a tee time call the golf shop or book online.