In recent years I've noticed that a great many golfers take their wedge or their 9-iron to play almost all their shots from off the edge of the green. There are times, of course, when the shot you should play, or must play, is a lofted little pitch calculated to drop near the pin and expire there with as little run as you can manage. But there are many more times—particularly when the pin lies to the rear of the green and there is a lot of room between your ball and the pin—when the most efficient and reliable shot to play is the good old chip-and-run. You just calculate how far you want to hit the ball in the air so that, after landing, it will have the legs to roll right up to the stick. You can't go very wrong with this shot.
You can play this run-up with any iron from the four through the nine, depending on your lie, the speed and the contours of the green, and your personal taste. To play this shot well and consistently well, you must learn to pace your swing just as you do on a regular shot, for the club head has to get in there with the same timing as on a full swing. Contact the ball and the turf at almost the same time, taking just that little amount of turf that gives you the sense of making contact with it. You will get some bite on this shot if you play it right, for bite comes from precise timing and precise impact and not, as most golfers think, from jabbing the ball down.
From JOHNNY PALMER, Tulsa Country Club
NEXT WEEK: BILL SHIELDS ON THE FAITHFUL FIVE