A common question I always get about the short game is, should I chip or should I pitch?
First lets get a clear understanding of what each one is.
Chipping is a shot with minimum air and maximum roll. It is typically hit with a multitude of clubs from a hybrid up to a pitching wedge.
Pitching is a shot with maximum air and minimum roll. It is typically hit with a pitching wedge, sand wedge or a lob wedge.
That being said, my answer to the original question is to putt. If you can putt the ball, always do so. If you cannot putt the ball due to longer grass or some sort of impediment, then chip the ball. If you cannot chip the ball due to a bunker, long grass or a short-sided pin, then you pitch the ball.
To put this in simple terms, keeping the ball low to the ground is almost always your best option with least amount of issues that can arise.
This week is an excellent week to be watching professional golf and watching their short games. The British Open is wrapping up and provides multiple options around the greens for short game shots. You will see players doing exactly as I have just talked about. They will be putting from well off of the putting surfaces. If they can’t putt then they will chip the ball, keeping it low to the ground and having it run out like a putt. Only if they cannot putt or chip will they be pitching the ball.
If you’re struggling around the greens, try these ideas as far as choosing the right shot to hit and I know you will save a few shots. If you need assistance on the technique, see your local PGA Professional for a private lesson or sign up for one of the upcoming short game schools at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course.