You’re within 30 feet of the hole, but off the green and in the rough, how do you handle the shot? If you’re a touring pro, you’re almost apt to hole this shot as often as you are to take three strokes to hole out. This is a relatively easy shot with a minimum of motion that anyone can learn to master with the right technique and practice.
With weight on your foot closest to the hole and your hands well ahead of the ball, you will typically want to play this shot with one of your most lofted wedges because of the way the ball is struck. The key is hit down on the ball with a descending blow and to land the ball just onto the putting surface. In that way, it will be more apt to roll true as opposed to maybe getting an odd or less predictable bounce in the higher mowed area. Many golfers will hit this shot with the same motion as they putt, and a good practice is to lead and finish with the left-wrist in front. The mistake that many novices will make with this shot is either to not play a lofted enough club which will make the ball roll too far or to not play the ball back enough and hit it with a descending blow thus catching too much grass.
For the longer chip shots of let’s say fifty feet, the technique is about the same only you will want to play a less lofted club such as a seven or eight-iron. Again you will want to land the ball onto the green and whenever possible to a flat landing surface so as to get a truer, more predictable first bounce. Some players will vary their choice of clubs for different distances around the green, but if you are just starting out, I’d recommend one or both of the most lofted wedges for the very short shots and an eight-iron for that longer, mid-range chip shot. Practice them and learn how far the ball rolls with varying carry distances.
Finally, this is a real touch shot so you’d be wise to invest in regular practice. For me, if I don’t play or practice much, this will be the area of my game that will typically suffer, but with a good practice session the results usually quickly return.