Bump and Run
It’s not the flashiest shot in world, but there isn’t a great player who has ever lived who didn’t master the bump and run. This is the high percentage shot to play when there is nothing in your way. No bunkers or other obstacles to carry it over, just room for your ball to run. The key to success in the bump and run is clean, consistent contact. If you strike the ball unsolidly or hit the ground before you hit the ball, you will have a difficult time predicting the outcome. Once again, the first step to mastering the bump and run is mastering solid contact.
For the beginner to intermediate golfer, this article is going to save you a whole bunch of strokes. You will be able to consistently hit your chips solidly and predict how much they will roll. Use these tips next time you go to the course:
- Narrow Stance – Keep your feet roughly six inches apart. You don’t need your legs for power on this shot. Get them out of the equation by narrowing your stance and restricting their movement.
- Angle Your Feet – Many instruction articles advise that you should open your stance when hitting the bump and run but that is misleading. In actuality you want to set up square, then point your toes about halfway between the ball and your landing spot. Probably at about a 45 degree angle or so.
- Shaft Lean – Keep your hands ahead of the clubhead at address and throughout the swing. With the top of the shaft leaning towards the target, you will effectively deloft the club. This will lower the trajectory of your shot and help you make solid contact. Maintain this relationship between your hands and the clubhead throughout your swing.
- Ball Back in Your Stance – Make sure the ball is far enough back. It should be played off your right heel. This looks too far back in the stance when most people first try it but it isn’t. When you angle your feet towards the target as described above, the ball automatically looks farther back than it actually is. Don’t be fooled by this. Once you angle your toes towards the target, go ahead and put the ball off your right heel to ensure clean contact.
- Soft grip pressure – Your touch and feel will always be better when you keep your hands soft and supple on the golf club. Your hands should be on the club firm enough to hold onto a bird without it flying away but soft enough that you don’t hurt it.
- Center Your Head over the Ball – The club will bottom out where your nose is. Therefore, if you are staring straight down at the ball, your club will bottom out in the perfect spot ensuring solid contact.
- Keep the Clubface Square – A lot of good players tend to set up with the clubface a little open without realizing it. If the clubface is open and you hit down on the ball, the ball will probably check up a little bit after it lands. That is the last thing you want on a bump and run. You want the ball to bounce true and consistently every time. Spin is your enemy. Eliminate this unwanted and unpredictable spin by keeping your clubface square to slightly closed at address.
- Hit it like a Putt – Once you’ve got the setup down, the swing is simply a putting stroke. Swing at the rhythm and tempo that you would for a putt of equal distance. The setup will ensure solid contact and swinging with this type rhythm will allow you to dial in your feel for the distance.
- Land it Early – Get the ball on the ground as fast as possible unless there is a severe slope in the way. The whole point of a bump and run is to minimize risk and maximize reward. Land the ball on the first spot you can see that is relatively forgiving and flat.
Short bump and runs
Sometimes you only need to carry the ball two or three feet and it only has to run another ten feet. This shot can be tricky for some people because its difficult to hit the ball solidly without hitting it too far. While the technique above is fantastic for medium to long range bump and runs, make these modifications for shorter ones when you don’t want the ball to come off too hot.
Play it Like a Putt – In all respects except for the club selection, you should play short bump and runs almost exactly like a putt. Grab your 9 iron and hold it as though you are holding your putter. Use the same grip, setup and stance as you would for a putter. Make sure your hands are still slightly ahead of the clubhead and your weight is slightly forward. The club will be much more vertical with this setup than it will with your normal grip.
The toe of the club should be sticking into the ground and the heel should be off the ground. With this sort of grip and setup, you will not be able to generate a lot of power and that is a good thing. You should be able to take a nice controlled putting stroke without the ball flying off your clubface uncontrollably.
Always play more break than you think on a bump and run. The bounce that it takes is going to follow the slope and increase the break that the naked eye sees. Plus, when you keep the ball on the high side, it is always getting closer to the hole as it travels.