The bump-and-run is the perfect golf shot when you are having a rough day on the greens—or in the rough. It lets you read the green as you watch the ball roll toward the hole. The bump-and-run is used when you are on the fringe of the green. Using an iron, you bump the ball onto the slope or the fringe and let it run to the hole. It’s basically a putt, using an iron. We break it down to five simple steps so you can learn how to hit a bump-and-run like Rory McIlroy, an undisputed king of the short game.
Avoid the Wedge and Choke Up
After the bump, you want the ball to run, so leave the wedge in the bag and use the seven, eight, or nine iron. The extra loft on the wedge will give the ball backspin, but you want some topspin on the ball so it rolls farther. Choke up on the club so you have better control over it during the swing. The longer irons will give the ball some pop when it lands. Don’t break your wrists when swinging; this is a little half swing that doesn’t need power, only finesse.
Watch the Ball Land
The ball is going to react differently to the turf on every shot. The longer the club, the harder the ball will skip forward when it hits the ground. Shorter clubs will increase the amount of backspin and lessen the rollout. As you make your way through the bag, watch the effect that each club has on the ball and how it rolls. Knowing what each club does will teach you how to hit a bump-and-run.
Use Your Regular Chipping Motion
The difference between a bump-and-run and a chip is proximity to the ground. No matter what club you are using, during a bump-and-run, the club will remain closer to the ground than a chip. Chipping will elevate the ball higher, so a larger swing farther from the ground is necessary. Hit a softer chip, but instead of aiming for the cup, pick a larger area near the hole. Imagine the hole is 10 feet wide and aim for that. You want to hit the larger hole and let the ball roll toward the actual one. A lower shot with a lofted club from that far out will still bounce forward but also gives a bit of “stick” to deaden the shot.
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