David Gil was 19 when, in 1998, he started working as a golf professional in Almenara (Sotogrande), creating the first CAR academy in Andalucía.
He subsequently travelled to England where he worked at the David Leadbetter Academy. On his return, he created the Sotogrande Junior Golf School, where players who went on to become top professionals have been coached.
Always linked to education, in 2010 he became involved in an international project in Sicily, where he was closely associated with Italy’s national teams and coaches.
With a masters degree in management and golf course management, David worked in golf operations for Andalucía’s leading courses. In 2018 he joined “TGA Golf Academy by Michael Campbell”. In summer 2021, he created his own golf academy, DG Golf Academy, based in Marbella and Switzerland.
The Best Ally in Improving Your Results
Club, Technique, Swing and When to Play This Shot – The Difference Between Three of the Most Important Short Game Shots
Several months ago I talked about how to hit different short shots around the green. On that occasion the lesson was focused on technique. In this latest article not only do I include a new shot but I also want to help you with any doubts and concerns that might have arisen about this topic from that previous lesson. Many of you want to know when and how to use one or another shot, and above all which clubs are the most suitable for each situation. I will try to resolve these doubts here…
You need to differentiate between when to play a chip and run, a lofted pitch and a high lofted shot, focusing on key points so you don’t make the wrong decision when out on the course.
- What club to use
- Technique – how to position yourself in relation to the ball
- Swing – what swing you need to make
- When you should play this shot
The easiest way and the first rule to make a good decision before standing over the ball is to ask yourself if you want it to roll a lot or just a little after the bounce.
With a chip and run, the ball spends more time rolling than in the air.
With a lofted pitch, the ball would have to spend more time in the air than rolling.
Once that decision is made, technique comes into play.
Apart from these two shots, I will also explain how to hit a flop or lofted shot, generally a very short shot where the ball generates a lot of spin and comes out higher than normal to land softly on the green and roll very little – or not at all.
My Top Two Tips
1.- On the decision to hit a shot: Always prioritise playing low rather than trying to hit high shots. This minimises the risk of failure, as your swing will be much shorter.
2.- On which club to use: For players with high or medium handicaps, I recommend not using clubs with too high a degree when hitting ground shots. I have seen many players roll shots with SW 56-58 and even 60 degrees. This is a mistake because those clubs are designed for another function (high shots). Practice with a 7-iron or 8-iron and you will see that it is much easier.
Club, Technique, Swing and When to Play a Chip and Run Shot
Expert players have more control over speed, power and spin. It would not be out of place to see them use clubs that range from 60 degrees to hybrids when playing this shot, but in general – and for players with medium and high handicaps – my advice would be to use clubs such as a 7-iron or 8-iron – and at the most a 9-iron.
- Stand very close to the ball with the feet almost together.
- Place the club very vertical up from the heel.
- Body axis (polo shirt buttons) slightly in front of the ball.
- Weight on the left leg all the time.
- As for a putt, short and with the wrists always locked together.
- The body should be stable but not blocked – the intention is that the club does not become embedded in the ground. To ensure this, turn your knees slightly at the end of the swing.
When to Play This Shot
Without a doubt, this shot will be the priority whenever you face a shot where:
- You do not have high hazards to avoid.
- You have medium or plenty of space to be able to roll the ball.
Club, Technique, Swing and When to Play a Lofted Pitch
As I noted above, you want the ball to spend more time in the air than rolling (but the intention is that, even if it is just a short time, you still need the ball to roll a little). That is why you don’t opt for a club of more than 58 degrees. Following the same logic as before, my advice is to stick to a club between PW and 56 degrees.
- Place your feet a little more closed than your shoulders.
- Weight gently on the left leg.
- Ball and hands centred.
- Shoulders aimed at the target – don’t force the shot by opening or closing your stance.
- You need a little twist on the upswing and at the end of the shot.
- Wrist control is important – take them to the point where they start to rotate, which will be the maximum point.
- Backswing and finish have to be practically at the same height.
When to Play This Shot
You can play this shot when you have a medium or short distance between the entrance to the green and the flag, which does not allow the ball to roll much. Also, when there are small hazards to avoid between your ball and the green.
Club, Technique, Swing and When to Play a Flop or Lofted Shot
This is a shot that I only recommend playing in situations where you can see that neither of the former two would be effective. It is a very high and very short shot. For this reason, you have to work on the spin factor (revolutions that you generate on the ball), as in this case they will be much higher than for the other two shots. For this reason you need to use a high-degree club such as an LW with 58-60-62 degrees.
- Place your feet apart at least a similar distance as the shoulders.
- Weight equally distributed on both legs and good bending movement.
- Ball slightly forward.
- Place your hands low so that the clubface does not point to the right.
- For this shot you need a good turn of the shoulders (without moving).
- Try to lift the club and finish above medium swing – not less.
- Wrist control – you need to try to move them throughout the swing a little more than for any other short shot, accelerating when hitting the ball.
- If you have the correct club (58 or 60 degrees minimum), you will be able to use its high loft and bounce, so your stance to the target doesn’t need to be open.
When to Play This Shot
The first thing you need to ensure is that the ball is well placed with a good cushion of grass for the club to brush past. This is a shot that requires a lot of practice before you put it into play out on the course. The coordination of speed, hand action and angle of attack has to be almost perfect, so only use it when you have practised it well. Be aware that professionals only use this shot in situations where they see no other option.