When close to the green, the temptation is to always grab the pitching wedge and play a chip shot. However, there will be occasions when flying the ball all the way to the green in the air is not the best way to approach the shot.
When you had a short distance to the green, you have several options depending on what is between the ball and green. If there is a hazard, in the way of a bunker or water, you will need to generate enough loft on the ball to comfortably clear these hazards and get the ball to stop as close to the hole as possible.
Often, you will find there is nothing but grass between your ball and the green, all be it uphill and this brings the bump and run shot into play. This shot will see the ball travel low in the air only part of the distance and this allows it to bounce and roll the rest of the way. It is a great shot to have in your arsenal when playing a links style course, where the ground is firm and the wind is blowing.
To play the bump and run, you want the ground between your ball and the green to be running flat or uphill and you want a shot which is low, with minimal spin on the ball. You can use several clubs to play this shot be we recommend starting with an 8 iron. Even if you make a poor contact with the ball and catch it thin, the result will be similar to hitting the shot perfectly, making it a great choice for this shot.
To achieve that, you must use a low, sweeping motion through impact. The best distance to practice this shot would be just off the green and about 40 yards from the pin. It can be played from further out than this but for practice purposes, this distance is ideal. Align the club face to the target and keep the shaft of the club in an upright position, doing this will help the motion of swing, keeping wrist movement to a minimum.
Move the grip of the club forward slightly and distribute your weight onto the front foot, to a 60/40 percent ratio. This well help to de-loft the club and keep the ball closer to the ground.
The actual stroke for a bump and run is like a putting stroke and should be controlled mainly through the shoulders, not the wrists. Keep your hands ahead of the club head as the club swings through the ball. This technique helps to remove other mechanics from the shot, which will only complicate things and not bring a great deal extra to the shot.
The follow through should be the same distance from the ball as your backswing was when you started the bump and run shot. Try to keep your head still and maintain an even tempo throughout the shot, pointing the club head at the pin on follow through.
You will need to judge the distance at which you want the ball to bounce before rolling onto the green but using an 8 iron to practice from 40 yards, should allow you to bump the ball on the edge of the green and roll it on close to the pin.
As with any shot in golf, the bump and run requires practice and the more you do, with different clubs, the better and more consistent you will become.