When the ball lies on the apron only a foot or so from the green, a sensible club to use sometimes is the famous "Texas wedge," the putter. However, when the ball is lying fairly well back on the apron and the apron is shaggy—as it is on most courses that are not baked out like many in Texas—a putted ball is subject to all sorts of little kicks that throw off both the direction and the calculated distance. Knowing this, a good many players play this chip from off the green with a wedge or niblick, attempting to loft the ball up near the flag with some bite on it. That's a dangerous and difficult shot, too. There's a happy medium, I believe—the flat little pitch-and-run played with the five, six, or seven iron.
I call this the pitch-and-run, the traditional term, but maybe the phrase pitch-and-putt would describe the type of shot more clearly. What the player aims to do is pitch the ball, in a relatively low arc, so that it carries over the unpredictable bounces of the apron, lands on the front of the evenly cut green, settles down after a bounce or two and runs like a putt to the flag. The golfer must estimate the spot on the green where he wishes to land the ball, gauging the run it will then have if it is to roll on and expire close by the cup. It is a relatively easy shot to master and a great saver of strokes.
from WILLIE HUNTER, pro at the Riviera Country Club
Playing a chip shot from the apron, Willie Hunter uses a seven iron (left), which he grips in his fingers low on leather of shaft
Hooding the club slightly, Hunter taps the ball delicately so it carries to the green's surface, then rolls like a putt
NEXT WEEK'S GUEST PRO: BILL GORDON ON THE FRIENDLY GRIP