Favor Chipping over Pitching When It's Possible to Chip-and-Run

Teaching Pro: And Putting Takes Precedence Over Both

Man making a chip shot
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Mark Blakemore says the chip-and-run should be the work-horse of your off-the-green short game. And Blakemore should know - he's a Class A PGA Professional with more than 20 years teaching experience. Blakemore is also the author of PGAProfessional.com, where you can visit to find many more tips.

"I would estimate that at least 95-percent of my short game shots (from within 20 yards of the edge of the green) are played with a chip-and-run," Blakemore says, "and the other five percent include putts from off the green, pitches, and bunker shots."

Blakemore says that getting the ball on the ground and rolling as soon as possible is the key to more predictable behavior from the ball.

Some people use their most lofted wedge for this style of shot in situations where more loft and less roll are called for, which might then be called a pitch-and-run.

But pitching the ball into the air decreases the odds of controlling the shot for most golfers. Especially when hitting from a marginal lie, Blakemore says, pitching is often a poor choice when the chip-and-run option is available.

Blakemore offers these three general rules for short game play:

1. Putt whenever feasible (that means whenever the ball will roll rather than bounce).

2. Chip and run when you can't putt.

3. Pitch only when you have no other choice.