The scoring in golf, as everyone knows, is done around the greens. Even our finest golfers don't hit all the greens—a number of our top-circuit scorers miss quite a few—but they can get down in two from off the edge just like clockwork.
Some over-90 shooters I've played with score that low only because they're pretty pro-ey around the green, but the average over-90 shooter loses many savable strokes because he doesn't understand how to play a chip. This is one so-called simple shot that is really a simple shot. The average player, though, thinks he has to pitch the ball up in the air. He uses too lofted a club. He overpivots—transfers his weight too much—and swings so fast he can't get his weight back to the ball quick enough. As a result he looks up, he fluffs, he scalps, he does everything.
Treat the chip from the fringe as a long putt. From a foot off the edge to 15 or so feet off, don't take too lofted a club. Stand with your feet close together. Get your weight a bit on your left side and keep it there. Forget about lofting the ball and play a brief, crisp little running stroke, relying on your sense of distance to tell you how hard to hit the shot, just like you would on a long approach putt.
from SAM SNEAD, Greenbrier Country Club, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
The feet are close together and the weight is slightly on the left side on the chip from the fringe
NEXT WEEK: BEVERLY HANSON ON FLEXING THE KNEES