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When to make a pitch with a putt

Too many of us, I think, reach for a chipping or pitching club on those delicate little shots around the green that might be better executed with a putter. The playing conditions, of course, must be right. You should be playing over firm turf that is free of heavy or wet. grass, and you should be in a situation in which the pin placement makes it quite difficult to get a pitch shot close—especially from a thin lie. The pin might be on the side of the green closest to you or tucked behind a mound that a pitch shot might not clear but a putt would roll over. Use your usual putting stroke on this shot. Since the ball will bounce quickly over the hard ground, you do not need to hit it much harder than a regular putt. I knew about this shot, but I seldom had occasion to play it until I came out on the tour. Now on certain courses I often use it several times a round. In the second round of the recent Masters, for instance, I hit a poor second shot on the 9th hole and my ball stopped 40 feet to the right of the green. The pin was on the lower right side of the green and there was a mound between the ball and the cup. Without a great deal of luck I could not have pitched the ball near the pin, so I putted it over the relatively hard surface. It went up over the mound and to within five feet of the hole. This is strictly a percentage shot that will work to your advantage in the long run. The point I wish to make is that by using a putter under these conditions you will get the ball close to the hole more often than with a lofted club; there also is less chance of wasting additional strokes.