The scoring in golf, as everyone knows, is done around the greens. Even our finest golfers don't hit all the greens—a number of our top-circuit scorers miss quite a few—but they can get down in two from off the edge just like clockwork.
Some over-90 shooters I've played with score that low only because they're pretty pro-ey around the green, but the average over-90 shooter loses many savable strokes because he doesn't understand how to play a chip. This is one so-called simple shot that is really a simple shot. The average player, though, thinks he has to pitch the ball up in the air. He uses too lofted a club. He overpivots—transfers his weight too much—and swings so fast he can't get his weight back to the ball quick enough. As a result he looks up, he fluffs, he scalps, he does everything.
Treat the chip from the fringe as a long putt. From a foot off the edge to 15 or so feet off, don't take too lofted a club. Stand with your feet close together. Get your weight a bit on your left side and keep it there. Forget about lofting the ball and play a brief, crisp little running stroke, relying on your sense of distance to tell you how hard to hit the shot, just like you would on a long approach putt.
from SAM SNEAD, Greenbrier Country Club, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
NEXT WEEK: BEVERLY HANSON ON FLEXING THE KNEES