How to Select the Right Greenside Golf Club

By Gary Wiren

Greens in regulation is a very important statistic in golf because when you are hitting a lot of greens that score is going to be lower. How many greens do we really hit in a round, tour players sometimes hit it only nine, 10 or eleven times. That means that they are off the greens chipping and pitching a lot.

How Many Greens Does the Average Golfer Hit?

The average player might hit only four or five in a round. What do you do when you have to pitch and chip about club selection? How do you know which club to use in which situation? This is important too because there is a margin of error factor here. You have to pick the club that gives you the most margin for error.

Which Club to Use for a Greenside Shot?

Let’s take a ball that is just off the green a little ways. What club should I use there? I have people that tell me, "Well I use my pitching wedge or sand wedge." That is ridiculous. The more loft you put in your hands the more difficult it is to hit the shot. All I have to do here is get the ball rolling so this is a putt. When you are just off the green putt it.

You can make a terrible stroke actually and at least you will still make good contact and get the ball up there somewhere where you have a chance to get it down in another stroke. So that is just a simple shot. What if you are a little farther back and the grass is a little rough, you can see where it is a little rough and in to you right here where if you rolled it all the way you would hit some of this rough grass.

8-Iron for Greenside Shots

Well I would use a club that is kind of like a putter in the sense of loft, I am not going to put my 60 degree in my hand, I am going take an 8-iron. I basically use 8-iron, pitching wedge and one of my other lofted clubs, either sand or 60 degree. I use three in my thinking all the time. So this is a little 8-iron, it is just like a putt except that I am setting up differently, we are setting up with our weight on the left, ball back, rather that weight stable and ball forward.

This way the tilt of the shaft comes forward and I make just a little putting stroke. See it comes out just like a putter with a little loft at the beginning. There are times when you have to get it over something so I have put these head covers out here and I imagine that I have long grass all the way out to where the head cover is on the green.

Using a Pitching Wedge

I am going to pitch the ball with a pitching wedge. I don’t want a lot of loft, I want enough loft to carry it there on the fly and then let it roll to the target. The idea once again is get it up there close enough to where you can make a putt. Of course you want to make it go in if you can but let's not get too greedy. Now the second head cover our there I imagine I have long grass or a bunker up to the head cover, so of course I am going to go to more loft because I have to land the ball farther up.

This is the sand wedge, slightly open face to it, my swing goes back a little farther, but the ball gets up there in to the distance where we can make it up and down in one putt. Club selection around the green is darn important. Take the one with the least margin of error.

Category: Club Selection
Sub Categories: Address/Set-Up, Chipping, Pitching

About the Instructor

Gary Wiren
Gary Wiren
Trump International Golf Club
3505 Summit Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL. 33406
Tel: 800-FOR-GARY
Tel: 800-367-4267