How to Bump It On and Close
This part-carry, part-roll beauty is a bonafide par-saver when you come up short of the green
By Carol Preisinger
Top 100 Teacher
This story is for you if...
You're coming up short on long par-4s and par-5s...
...and you can't get the ball close enough on your third shot to save par.
You're in no-man's land 40 yards from the green with a tight lie. You're finding yourself in this position more often than in the past as courses get longer and longer.
Despite advances in technology in every facet of the game over the last two decades, the best play for when you come up short of the green is one that's been around for a hundred years: the bump-and-run pitch. It's one of the easiest shots you can hit, as long as you follow a few simple rules and convince yourself that landing the ball short of the pin is the best way to get it close. Here's how to do it.
HOW TO SAVE PAR WHEN YOUR APPROACH LANDS SHORT
Select a landing area
For a bump and run, a good rule of thumb is to fly the ball two-thirds of the way and let it run along the ground toward the hole the final one-third. If the pin is up, that means landing the ball short of the green, which is perfectly okay for this situation. When you pick your spot, imagine a lower trajectory, not a high-arcing balloon shot. This will put you in the proper state of mind when selecting your target.
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Set up for a soft, low shot
Take a narrow stance with your left foot slightly open to your target. This will help you turn through the shot something amateurs forget to do on short swings. Play the ball back of center, and set your hands off the inside of your left thigh. Notice how the shaft leans toward the target when you do this. You'll want to re-create this same lean at impact.
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Make a short backswing
With a 9-iron, all you need to do is take your hands back to waist height with just a touch of wrist hinge. This will give you about 25 yards of carry and 15 yards of roll. (If you need to hit it farther, use a 8-iron. For shorter shots, drop to a pitching wedge.) Notice how my lower body is calm and relaxed. Start sliding here and you'll have trouble making crisp contact.
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Turn and release
Your backswing length controls the distance of the shot, so there's no need to adjust your through-swing to manipulate the ball close. Turn through like you do on normal full swings, stopping your hands, again, at waist height. It's important that you release the club through impact so that you strike the ball with a square clubface. You'll know you did it right if the toe of your iron points toward the sky in your finish.
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