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Chipping vs the 7i bump and run


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I learned to hit a chip shot at a young age with my 60 deg wedge from a dad that took his wedge game seriously. He’s a Vokey guy and by the holy customs of hand-me-down, I am too. I carry a 52, and 56 and a 60. Now I’m not sure how new this idea is, but I keep running into guys, whose coach/trainer say something like this: oh those high loft wedges “are really just for the pros” and anyone who seriously wants to improve their score should just do a simple bump and run with their 7 iron whenever possible and not even bother with a wedge. 
Thoughts on that? 
 

I mean I love chipping from inside 50 yards. It’s the only shot where I really feel I have a somewhat reasonable chance of sinking it from outside the green. And when I hear this argument it makes me think maybe people don’t have enough confidence in their wedges? 

I guess I’m probably missing something. I’m definitely not trying to put anyone down here and most guys i know that use the 7i bump and rub can kick my 🍑. I’m just about every aspect of the game. For someone who loves wedges, is there someone that can give me a deep dive into this trade off? I’d love to hear what y’all have to say. In short what would be the pros/cons to bagging my wedge and going with my 7? 

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I share the same feeling I visualize wedge sending the ball high and close to the hole with my LW or SW   I tried and  wasn’t very consistent with a low lofted iron chipping from off the green.   I rather deloft my wedge if I have lots of green to work with for a “chip and roll” than using 7 iron   I think as long it works for you then stick with whatever method is consistent.

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I use my wedges although when the time comes I’ll bump and run. Had to do that today as I had a bunker in front of the pin but a tree just left, so has to thread the needle to get it on the green. Should be a shot you practice but doesn’t have to be your stock chip shot. 

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@Jwilson95 it comes down to what people get more used to and score better with. 

The 7i bump and run is a true chip more than a lofted wedge which more of a true pitch. 

My definition of a chip is a stroke that is mostly like a putt with little to no wrist action to limit the distance in a controlled manor. 

My definition of a pitch is a shortened stroke, when compared with a full swing, to carry shorter distances than full swings but, carry farther than a short chip and, usually has some form of wrist hinge. 

Semantics of chip or pitch don't matter but, the execution of those two shots is very different. I can understand why a weekend golfer, who doesn't practice much, would feel more comfortable chipping a mid iron instead of pitching a lofted wedge - the shorter stroke has a lot less that can go wrong. 

But, a bump and run is lie dependent. You have to be able to land the ball in a place that will allow a long run out. 

The lofted wedge will not run out as far so, you can land closer to the target. The rub comes in making a partial swing of different size/speed to create different lengths - another struggle for some. 

I play both the wedge and bumps whenever I want interchangeabley - mostly just to keep myself entertained and fool around with variety. 

50 yards out to a front pin - I don't think anyone is going for a 7i bump and run pitch shot. But, a back pin with a big green and coming from under a tree - every time.

Close to the green is where I can agree with bump and runs more than high loft - I'm talking about less than 10 yards off the green. Using a putting stroke, a simple mid iron chip will clear alot of the rough and roll up to the pin with little effort and a short swing. The higher lofted wedge would need a bigger movement to go the same distance which can bring the dreaded skull across the green into play. I've even chipped with my fairway wood when I am on the fringe to bump and run. 

That's why I love golf - lots of ways to be creative and have fun. 

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Some people really struggle with chipping and putting despite the fact that they are the shortest swings and require very little physical strength or athletic ability.  The frustration of a missed chip or putt is often magnified because many people think chipping and putting is inherently easier than the full swing so there isn’t the same emphasis on learning good technique or practicing. 

I have witnessed a number of people struggle so much with the mental pressure of chipping and putting that they develop a physical flinch which is commonly called “The Yips”.

Since more strokes in a round of golf are made on and around the green than anywhere else it is my contention that if you want to improve your handicap quickly, then working on chipping and putting will lead to a faster result than anything else.

Chipping is my most improved skill over the last few years and the part of the game that I now have the most confidence in.

After struggling for years with a lack of confidence around the greens and experimenting with different clubs and methods, I was lucky enough to have a lesson from a veteran teaching pro who showed me an old school method of chipping that really clicked.

My wedge set-up includes a 48, 52, 56 & 60 wedges.  The clubs I use the most around the green are my 60 & 56.  

The method I was taught was to put the ball in line with my back foot with a stance fairly open to the target and my weight forward towards the target. Then I deloft the wedge by moving my hands toward my front thigh which puts a lot of forward shaft lean in the stroke and then close the club face by rotating the shaft slightly before regripping the club.  I then make a simple back and through stroke with little to no wrist action and an emphasis on an equal or longer follow through than backswing.  I keep my hands well forward of the club head throughout the swing.  The face of the club hits the ball with a descending blow and pops the ball slightly in the air, up and over the fringe, then rolls to the hole usually checking up after the first or second bounce.

Imagine the feeling of pulling the handle forward with your hands toward the target instead of trying to push the handle forward.

Earlier this year I read Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible and he teaches a very similar technique but explains the theory and technique much more thoroughly.  I strongly recommend his book.

To get the ball to fly higher and stop more quickly don’t lean the shaft forward as much and take a slightly longer swing.

I use the same swing on most chip shots and just change clubs to get more distance and roll out.

The common mistakes I see from my playing partners are:

1. Taking too big of a back swing and then decelerating coming into the ball.

2. Using too much hand and wrist action and trying to help the ball into the air.

3. Trying to fly the ball all the way to the hole. 

4. Having the bulk of their weight on the back foot instead of the front foot.

The results from these mistakes tend to be inconsistent distance with lots of duffs and skulls.

The best golfer I play with putts from off the green almost every time.  He is unbelievably good at judging the required pace.  He does this because he doesn’t have confidence in his chipping.  He calls me “Mr. Chips” because from the same place I will chip most every time now because I don’t have confidence in putting from off the green.

So, use what works best for you.  If putting from off the green with a putter or a hybrid or fairway wood works better for you then do that.  If a specialized chipping club like the Square Strike club works better then use that.  If a 7 iron works better then use that.

The goal is the fewest strokes to get the ball in the hole.

 As my friend says, “The good thing about the game of golf is that the score card doesn’t record how you got the ball into the hole, just the result.  There aren’t any places on the scorecard for pictures, so don’t worry about how you look getting the ball into the hole.”

 

Edited by Hoyoymac
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It’s pretty simple, the 7i bump and run is safer. Depending on how fast your greens/fringes are, you’re basically making a long putt with an iron. So if you blade it, you’re still somewhere near the pin - whereas if you blade a high lofted wedge you’re WAY long (the swing is much harder/longer than a 7i for a given distance). Of course when you find yourself short sided, especially with a hazard between your ball and the pin, you’re forced to use a high lofted wedge - which you haven’t been practicing if the 7i bump and run is your stock shot.

A high lofted wedge will work in all circumstances, but a miss is way more costly.

The 8i bump and run is my stock shot greenside and I can use it more often than not. I’m OK using a GW when faced with a down slope chip. But when faced with short sided over a trap I use my 60* wedge, but all I can hope for is on the green, close to the pin is just luck for me (because I hit my 60* so infrequently). I use my 60* less than once a round.

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46 minutes ago, Middler said:

It’s pretty simple, the 7i bump and run is safer. Depending on how fast your greens/fringes are, you’re basically making a long putt with an iron. So if you blade it, you’re still somewhere near the pin - whereas if you blade a high lofted wedge you’re WAY long (the swing is much harder/longer than a 7i for a given distance). Of course when you find yourself short sided, especially with a hazard between your ball and the pin, you’re forced to use a high lofted wedge which you haven’t been practicing.

A high lofted wedge will work in all circumstances, but a miss is way more costly.

Was going to post pretty much the same thing. Great response.

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I learned to play the 7 iron bump and run growing up (bunch of years ago) but I got away from that and moved to using a gap wedge.  During a series of lessons, I did 2 full lessons on chipping and my teacher changed me to my 58* vokey.  I'm sticking with it, my short game has improved tremendously and index dropped substantially.  I've tried to hit a few practice chips with 7 iron and it just isn't any good for me any longer.  I think you need to pick 1 club and stick with it and don't try to get too fancy.  

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An 80 year old friend of mine in Florida showed me the 7i bump and run shot when I first took up golf.  Worked OK in Florida on his slow Bermuda greens, but it's never a club that I would use here in Washington.  Our greens are poa annua or bent grass and generally quite fast.  Any club longer than a PW will run to the other side of the green if chipping from just off the green.  I find it difficult to judge how far the ball will roll out using an iron.  If I'm close enough I'm putting, otherwise I'm using my 60º for for most all shots.  I know how far to carry the shot into the green because I practice with my 60º all the time.  I have several shots with different trajectories that I can use depending on where the hole is located on the green.  When I need to go over a bunker, it's the same shot for me.

Whatever club you use for chipping, the key is to get used to the shots you will likely encounter on the course and practice them.  Practicing them is NOT hitting 6-8 balls before heading to the 1st tee!!!  The biggest reason players don't use a LW is they don't practice with it.  Carrying a LW that you never use and then expecting to pull off a shot with it when you need to is a corollary to the "definition of insanity".

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I think it's worth keeping in mind that the pros use both. Depending on the lie and difficulty of the shot, it changes the need for a shot that carries the distance and dies immediately or rolls out. 

 

From what I was taught, the general progression is putter, iron chip and run, and then pitch. You have far less of a chance of fatting or thinning a putt or chip than you do a pitch. And if you use a putter stroke for your chip, it's very easy to control. 

 

The asterisk on that though is confidence and practice. If you've never practiced chip and runs and are confident and consistent with your pitching, then pitch. Commitment to your shot is often more important than the type of shot. E.g. why on two similar ball locations, I believe Schaufele putted and Morikawa pitched and both has nearly the same result. 

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I have used a 58 or 60 degree wedge for almost all shots around the green for most of my 30 plus years playing. However, I recently accepted that I was leaving shots out there and have started learning to use other clubs. So far, I have become comfortable with a 48 degree wedge and am working on the 9 iron. The plan is to eventually be comfortable using 7, 9, gap wedge and sand wedge. So far, judging how hard to hit the 7 is proving to be very difficult. 

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Good advice in some of the threads above. The bump and run is a hallmark of a game from the era before specialty wedges when most players were pretty advanced if they carried a reliable sand iron. It has great advantages in certain situations, like a flop shot does. 

Best advice is play your short game with a light head and a heavy hand rather than a heavy head and a light hand. There's many techniques and many clubs for a reason. If you can get good at every type of greenside shot, well then you'll just be good at golf. 

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Wedge is the play the vast majority of the time given their versatility. Bump & run with an iron is situational, have to have the right lie, nothing to carry, and plenty of green to work with. To me you’re comparing one shot to an endless combination of shots. It’s a great shot to have in your arsenal when needed. If you’re not good with wedges, practice, practice, practice, loft and bounce are your friends around the green.


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I had a conversation about this today, and I will paraphrase the best I can.

 

For those with the skill and time to hone it, using 1 wedge for the majority of chipping and pitching allows you to eliminate the Variability of shaft length, loft, face material (vokey vs a hot face iron) so you learn to manipulate the face and ball position with 1 wedge and you take lots of variables out.  

 

But for those who may not have the skill or time to work on it,  using a lower lofted Iron can be bennificial, as it does get the ball rolling and reduces chances of blades and chunks.

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57 minutes ago, Perrymr said:

For those with the skill and time to hone it, using 1 wedge for the majority of chipping and pitching allows you to eliminate the Variability of shaft length, loft, face material (vokey vs a hot face iron) so you learn to manipulate the face and ball position with 1 wedge and you take lots of variables out

That was how I was taught. One club make it do everything. I use a 50 degree.

I just saw a video over the weekend done by Phil Mickelson teaching the same way. He also emphasized the forward shaft lean, forward weight, feet together. But then he added in ball position. Ball back = longer roll out, ball forward= more height less roll. If I can find it I'll post it. 

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The video is on YouTube. Called " Phil Mickelson chipping 101"

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Another thought on this subject.  I remember Harvey Penick advocated for using a 7 iron to chip with.  However, that was when 7 irons were 36 to 38 degrees of loft.  Today, that would be a weak 8 iron or strong 9 in many sets.  If you are chipping with a modern strong lofted 7 iron, you are essentially using a classic 5 iron.  That may be why I am having so much trouble dialing in the 7 iron.

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I learned to hit a chip shot at a young age with my 60 deg wedge from a dad that took his wedge game seriously. He’s a Vokey guy and by the holy customs of hand-me-down, I am too. I carry a 52, and 56 and a 60. Now I’m not sure how new this idea is, but I keep running into guys, whose coach/trainer say something like this: oh those high loft wedges “are really just for the pros” and anyone who seriously wants to improve their score should just do a simple bump and run with their 7 iron whenever possible and not even bother with a wedge. 
Thoughts on that? 
 
I mean I love chipping from inside 50 yards. It’s the only shot where I really feel I have a somewhat reasonable chance of sinking it from outside the green. And when I hear this argument it makes me think maybe people don’t have enough confidence in their wedges? 
I guess I’m probably missing something. I’m definitely not trying to put anyone down here and most guys i know that use the 7i bump and rub can kick my [emoji527]. I’m just about every aspect of the game. For someone who loves wedges, is there someone that can give me a deep dive into this trade off? I’d love to hear what y’all have to say. In short what would be the pros/cons to bagging my wedge and going with my 7? 

I used to be exclusively a bump and run guy with a 7i in all situations except green side rough. Also I carried a 52, 56 and 60. Most recently I changed up my wedges to a 54 and 60 (my gap wedge is 48). I've spent a lot of time on my short game from 75 yds in and especially chipping. Now I hardly ever bump and run. I found I can better position for a short putt with my chip than bump and run. However, keep in mind that our greens are extremely fast and have a lot of undulations.

There are a bunch of great YouTube videos on chipping especially from Mickelson.
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I chip with anything from an 8 iron to my lob wedge, depending on the situation.  Using a less lofted club than the wedges gives better control for me to determine runout.  If I have to fly it any distance  and don't have lot of green to work with, I'll go to the lob wedge. But if I have green to work with and a short distance to the green, I'll opt to get it on the ground fast and let it run to the hole.  I know many players only use their lofted wedges exclusively, and that's fine.  Whatever works to get your score down.

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19 hours ago, Jwilson95 said:

I learned to hit a chip shot at a young age with my 60 deg wedge from a dad that took his wedge game seriously. He’s a Vokey guy and by the holy customs of hand-me-down, I am too. I carry a 52, and 56 and a 60. Now I’m not sure how new this idea is, but I keep running into guys, whose coach/trainer say something like this: oh those high loft wedges “are really just for the pros” and anyone who seriously wants to improve their score should just do a simple bump and run with their 7 iron whenever possible and not even bother with a wedge. 
Thoughts on that? 
 

I mean I love chipping from inside 50 yards. It’s the only shot where I really feel I have a somewhat reasonable chance of sinking it from outside the green. And when I hear this argument it makes me think maybe people don’t have enough confidence in their wedges? 

I guess I’m probably missing something. I’m definitely not trying to put anyone down here and most guys i know that use the 7i bump and rub can kick my 🍑. I’m just about every aspect of the game. For someone who loves wedges, is there someone that can give me a deep dive into this trade off? I’d love to hear what y’all have to say. In short what would be the pros/cons to bagging my wedge and going with my 7? 

For most of my golf life I was a 7i/8i bump and run player.  I only recently moved away from that and, while it hasn't resulted in huge gains, using my 56/12 is proving a bit more consistent and versatile.  What I like is that I'm learning how to manage stance and club lean (press forward) to control drop and stop vs. drop and roll out.  

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