Golf tip: Bump and run approach can lower your scores

Let's face it, we don't always hit the green on our second or sometimes even third shot, which leaves us with the challenge of chipping the ball and trying to save a par or bogey.

For some players, chipping can be a daunting task as it relies heavily on feel and distance control.

A common mistake I see a lot of players make is to immediately grab that high-lofted wedge when they are just off the green and attempt to hit a Phil Mickelson-esque flop shot. Only Phil has moves like Phil, so let's focus on a shot that is manageable and easy to control when we are out there - the bump and run.

The bump and run can be played with a variety of clubs depending on distance and contours of the green. A safe bet is typically an 8 or 9 iron.

Here are some steps to follow:

• Position your feet closer together and open your stance to the target line with the ball in the back of your stance.

• Try to get the club more up and down at address.

• Use your putting grip as opposed to your regular full swing grip. The idea is to "putt" the ball rather than chip it.

• With the stroke, we are looking to limit wrist action and create more of the pendulum swinging motion as opposed to a more up and down swing used on a pitch shot.

• There isn't going to be a lot of air time with a bump and run, so use your ground and green-reading skills to get the ball closer to the hole.

Using the bump and run helps to eliminate all the extra variables that come into play when using a high-lofted club and adding levers to the swing.

It's not always going to be the shot that can be played, but when you have no obstacles in front of you and a clear path to the hole I recommend using this shot.

With practice, you'll see an improvement in your short game and hopefully lower scores that translate to even more fun.

• Jamie Nieto is the Head PGA Professional Pheasant Run Golf Course. You can reach him at the Pro Shop at (630) 584-4914.

For more information, visit

• Editor's note: With assistance from the Illinois PGA, the Daily Herald provides golf tips each Wednesday from a PGA Professional.

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