I encourage you to try all of the shots discussed, no matter your handicap, as you will be surprised how effective they can be.
The three shots discussed require only a small distance to be covered through the air; the key is to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, which allows for a more predictable result.
The three shots
You need to read the break of the green in the same manner that you would do for a putt, allowing for slope and break, and then select one of the following:
1 The chip and run
The set-up, as seen in this picture, has Sally in a relaxed position, open to the targetline, with the ball off the right foot and the shaft leaning towards the left leg.
If the knees are flexed and pushed towards the hole as I am indicating, your weight should be 80 percent on your left foot.
Keep the left wrist firm and simply turn your chest towards the hole without any further weight shift. (A simple thought is that your watch should remain ahead of the ball on the strike.)
The club selected may vary from a running sandwedge towards a short pin, to a straighter-faced 7-iron for longer distances.
2 The chip-putt
This is a simple shot, which is played more like a putt than a chip. Select a 6-iron and set up as you would for a putt.
Take your putting grip and relax the elbows. Stand parallel to the target, as you do in putting, and set the shaft upright in a manner that resembles the shaft position of a putter. This upright shaft takes the hands out of play.
The heel of the club will lift a little off the ground and the ball will be addressed off the toe of the club.
Simply play the shot as you would do for a putt. The ball will be struck off-centre, deadening the strike, and thus the ball does not roll away as swiftly as in the chip and run shot – an ideal choice for short distances or in downhill situations when you do not want speed on the ball.
3 The 3-wood chipshot
Place the ball in the middle of your stance, grip down the shaft and once again use a putting action, keeping the clubhead close to the ground.
This shot can be selected in a couple of different situations: firstly, since the ball tends to jump off the face and then roll, it is played a lot on links courses from quite a distance off the green.
It is also useful in hard winter conditions on some of our inland courses. The long shaft makes for much easier swinging than
a short putter.
This shot can also be played when rough grass lies behind the ball. The leading edge of an iron tends to get caught in the grass, but the 3-wood has a flat sole, which slides through the grass, and 15 degrees of loft, which lifts the ball over any bumpy surface.
Meet the pro
Former SA Amateur champion Rae Hast spent 12 years on the Ladies European Tour after turning professional, winning the United Friendly Open in her very first year on tour. For the past 15 years she has taught the game full-time. She is head coach at Erinvale and last year was named the WPGA’s Coach of the Year 2009. She is also the president of the Women’s Professional Golf Association in South Africa.