Originally Published: January 9, 2013 10:10 p.m.
Over half of the shots taken on the course by most golfers are from 100 yards or closer to the green. This puts a premium on your "short game", in particular chipping and putting.
How often have you hit a couple of good shots and gotten down by the green only to have a bad score because it took you 3 or 4 strokes to get in the hole from just off the green? If you are just off the green you should be able to get "up and down" in two shots about 50% of the time. (A touring pro will get it "up and down" about 90% of the time.)
Here's a tip on better chipping.
Choose a club with less loft (6, 7 or 8 iron) whenever possible. The idea is to get the ball onto the green and rolling like a putt rather than try and hit a high shot with little roll using a wedge. And don't hesitate to use your putter when just off the green if the grass is not too long. Less loft on the club will minimize the chances of a "fat" shot or one hit thin or high on the ball. (The dreaded "skull" shot that goes sailing over the green much to the delight of your opponent.)
Mack McCarley is the PGA Golf Professional at the Antelope Hills Golf Course and a member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.