Are you killing your golf game ?

The Covington News - - SPORTS - BRYAN RAINES Bryan Raines is the golf pro­fes­sional at Ash­ton Hills Golf Course and can be reached at

Now that we’ve talked about man­ag­ing your game (“Man­age your game ef­fec­tively” in the July 7 edi­tion of The Cov­ing­ton News), I would like to go into de­tail about mak­ing good de­ci­sions around the green.

I see so many peo­ple choos­ing a much harder shot than is nec­es­sary. This is be­cause most golfers don’t know what shot to hit in what po­si­tion. Most golfers see their fa­vorite tour pros hit a lofted shot that has a ton of back­spin and think it’s the cool thing to do. You need to re­al­ize that as an am­a­teur you are prob­a­bly not go­ing to spin it back, so don’t try it.

For you to bet­ter un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent shots around the greens, I will need to define them.

First the “chip shot” is a low-run­ning shot that rolls farther than it car­ries. This type of shot can be used with al­most any club in your bag. It uses a mo­tion that most closely re­sem­bles a putting stroke, with the ball be­ing played much farther back in your stance and your hands be­ing po­si­tioned for­ward. Keep­ing the ball in the back of your stance en­sures a de­scend­ing blow that will keep the ball low and rolling. This type of shot is gen­er­ally the eas­i­est for most golfers and should be used as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

Sec­ond, the “pitch shot” is a lofted shot that car­ries farther than it rolls. This shot is gen­er­ally played with a pitch­ing wedge, sand wedge or a lob wedge from a slightly for­ward po­si­tion in your stance. It most closely re­sem­bles a lob shot in ten­nis. This shot is de­signed to carry the ball high and land softly.

De­cid­ing which shot to hit is a pretty easy process. First you need to de­ter­mine how much room you have for the ball to roll. If you have more room to roll than to carry, nine times out of 10 it is a chip shot. You also want to see what’s be­tween you and the flag. If there’s a bunker or a raised green, you prob­a­bly want to hit a pitch shot.

One of the big­gest mis­takes I see am­a­teurs make is not ever choos­ing a land­ing spot for the ball. This is equally im­por­tant no mat­ter what shot you are try­ing to hit. For chip­ping I gen­er­ally use a spot that is 1 yard on the green. This al­lows me to min­i­mize the carry to al­low the ball to roll out.

When it comes to pick­ing a land­ing spot on a pitch shot, first de­ter­mine how much room you have be­tween the edge of the green and the flag. If you have a good amount of room use a pitch­ing wedge to carry the ball just on the green and let it roll out to the hole. If you have a shot that doesn’t al­low for much roll, use a higher lofted club like a sand wedge or lob wedge and carry it roughly half the dis­tance from the edge of the green and the flag.

So next time you’re out play­ing, think about what type of shot you have and where to land the ball.

I prom­ise it will im­prove your chance at mak­ing par.

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