Strat­egy: Fringe ben­e­fits

Five ques­tions to ask when you’re on the apron

Today's Golfer (UK) - - Contents -

Five ques­tions to ask when you’re on the apron.

Fault: Fail­ure to get up and down when com­ing up short Fix: Plan and vi­su­alise the shot through five key ques­tions

Whether it’s through the com­mon er­ror of un­der­club­bing or sim­ply a sight mishit, the club golfer of­ten ends up short of the putting sur­face. Typ­i­cally that means a chip up the green from the apron. It al­ways seems like a sim­ple shot, but with­out some strat­egy in place and a clear pic­ture of how you need the shot to work, you can still come a crop­per. In­stead, base your ap­proach on th­ese five ques­tions in or­der to give your­self a make­able putt more of­ten than not.

1 ‘Can I putt it?’

As we see every year at the Open, even the best play­ers putt the ball when they can. It gives far more pre­dictabil­ity than us­ing a lofted face that ap­plies spin. If the fringe is short and dry the putt may be on, but greener ar­eas and longer grass in­di­cate soft wet ar­eas, cre­ated by sprin­kler heads. If in any doubt, use the least loft pos­si­ble that car­ries the ball to the green with­out it go­ing too far.

2 ‘How is the ball ly­ing?’

The ball usu­ally sits up nicely on the apron, but th­ese are high traf­fic ar­eas and you can get a poor lie. Bad lies need a more down­ward an­gle of at­tack, mean­ing the ball comes out lower and hot­ter. You can al­low for that ei­ther by tak­ing a more lofted club, or by chang­ing your pic­ture of the shot – bring­ing the ball’s land­ing point closer to you and al­low­ing for more run.

3 ‘Where do I want the ball’s first bounce?’

The first bounce of the ball mas­sively in­flu­ences where it ends up, so if you can’t putt it, plan the shot around pitch­ing the ball onto a firm and level area that gives pre­dictabil­ity to the shot. Nine times out of 10 that means car­ry­ing the ball to the green. It’s tempt­ing to land it in the fringe, but th­ese ar­eas aren’t pre­pared like mod­ern greens and can give er­ratic bounces.

4 ‘What slopes should I take into ac­count?’

The ideal chip and run sees a low tra­jec­tory, the ball land­ing on the front por­tion of the green be­fore rolling out like a putt. Be­cause of this, you should read the breaks al­most as if it was a putt. Start by iden­ti­fy­ing the high point around the green; it’ll give you a feel for the slopes; then, as part of your visu­al­i­sa­tion, pic­ture how the ball would need to run down those slopes to get close.

5 ‘How will con­di­tions af­fect the shot?’

It’s tempt­ing to think wind won’t af­fect a chip-and-run, but it can have more in­flu­ence than you ex­pect. Take special care to al­low for cross­winds, as they can set the ball run­ning up the wrong track al­most off the club­face. Wet con­di­tions tend to mean less fric­tion between the face and ball, lim­it­ing spin. The ball will typ­i­cally run out fur­ther, although of course a wet green is likely to be slower.

TG TOP 50 CHRIS RYAN THE BEL­FRY ACADEMY Chris is se­nior in­struc­tor at The Bel­fry’s PGA Golf Academy

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