The Bump-and-Run Shot in Golf

Satoshi Kodaira plays a bump-and-run chip during the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie.

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The "bump and run" (sometimes called a "chip and run") is an approach shot to the green typically played from close to the green's edge, and that is struck in a way that the balls spends a minimum amount of time in the air before rolling the rest of the way (hopefully) to the target.

Bump and run shots are very common on links courses and on golf courses in dry and/or windy locations, where greens and fairways may be harder.

'Bump and Run' Can Mean Slightly Different Things Depending on the Golfer

"Bump and run" is one of those golf shots that can have a slightly different meaning depending on who is using it.

Some golfers use "bump and run" so that it is merely synonymous with a chip shot that rolls most of the way to the green. (The golfer has the option to pitch the ball or chip the ball from a location close to the green's edge — or even, sometimes, to putt. A pitch shot, however, is struck with a high-lofted club such as a pitching wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge or lob wedge, producing a high trajectory and a ball that typically hits the green and quickly stops. A chip shot spends very little time in the air and most of the time rolling along the ground).

In his book Golf for Dummies, pro golfer and broadcaster Gary McCord says that bump-and-run is synonymous with a run-up shot, a shot from any distance into the green that is intentionally played short of the green to allow for the ball to roll onto the putting surface.

But the most common definition of the term is the one we started with above. We can expand on that by considering the term's origin. A bump-and-run can be broken down into two parts, the bump and the run. The bump refers to intentionally playing a ball that is off the green to land just short of the green (to bump the ball into the fringe) or to land just on the green (to bump the ball onto the green). And the run refers to the roll-out of the ball after it bounces through the fringe.

And those are the most common usages of the term: A bump-and-run shot is one that the golfer chips just short of the green, bouncing it through the fringe, with the ball then rolling the rest of the way on the putting surface. Or the bump-and-run is a chip shot played to land just on the green and then roll out across a dry, firm green. Either way, lots of roll-out is the key.

Playing the Bump-and-Run Shot

To play a bump-and-run shot, place the ball back in your stance. Use a wedge or a short iron (9-, 8- or even 7-iron), depending on just how much time you want the ball to spend in the air before hitting the green. Using a lower-lofted club will produce less air time and more roll-out.

Then take a smooth, chip-like stroke with very little hand or wrist action. You're not releasing your hands like you would on a "regular," swing. Again, think about the term: just bump the ball. The 6-8-10 Method for Chipping goes into more detail about the fly/roll ratios of chip shots relative to the loft of the club used. A YouTube search also produces many videos demonstrating bump-and-run technique.