The more options golfers have around the greens, the better their chance of scoring. The scoring range is from 60 yards and in. The more efficient you are, the lower your scores will be.
When your ball is on the fringe close to the green, your first option should be to use your putter. You should always play the safest shot, which is generally the smallest stroke.
The things that should determine weather you use your putter are:
How is the ball sitting? Is it up or down?
How much fringe do you have to go over?
What is the terrain like, smooth or bumpy?
How far do you have to go to the pin?
Your next choice would be to chip the ball. A chip shot is a low-running shot that has a little elevation to get over the area that you want to take out of play and then gets on the ground and rolls like a putt. These shots should be played with less lofted clubs, such as a 6,7,8 iron, which are more traditional. We are seeing the modern player be very creative and even use hybrids or fairway woods for these shot.
As you get farther away from the green and you have more fringe or rough or a bunker between you and the hole, you must play in the air, which calls for lots of loft in most cases. Pitching wedge, sandwedge or lob wedge are the clubs of choice. This is a pitch shot. There is definitely a difference.
Options give you the ability to play different shots that fit different situations. Some people only use their pitching wedge, or some people only use their 7-iron around the green. It's good to have a favorite club, but it may not fit every situation. All it takes is a little patience and practice, and you may find that you have several favorite clubs.
People talk about feel all the time when referring to the short game. Feel isn't something that you can teach, it is something you acquire through practice. Anytime you have a delicate shot around the green, approach it a little slower. Take your time; make some practice swings. Decide what shot you are going to hit. Commit to it and play that shot.
I leave you with one last thought: Golf is a non-violent sport, and the more non-violently you approach a specialty shot, the more success you will have.
Tim Peightal is a PGA pro, general manager and director of golf at Pelican Bay Country Club - north and south courses in Daytona Beach. He also owns Summit Driving Range in Port Orange. Mr. Peightal can be reached at (386) 304-4774 or by sending an e-mail to GypsyPro12@ aol.com.