Chip vs Bump and Run: A Comparison of Golf Short Game Shots

In golf, having a strong short game is essential for scoring well. Two of the most common short game shots are the chip shot and the bump and run. While both shots are used to advance the ball towards the hole from just off the green, there are some key differences between the two. This article will provide an overview of the chip shot and bump and run, compare and contrast the two, and provide tips on when and how to use each one.

What is a Chip Shot?

A chip shot in golf is a short shot played from just off the green using a lofted club. The loft on the club lifts the ball into the air and allows it to land softly on the green. The objective of a chip shot is to get the ball airborne but keep it relatively low, so it rolls out towards the hole after landing.

Chips shots are typically played from the fringe or collar of the green. They are used when there is some grass or rough between your ball and the putting surface. The loft on the club helps get the ball up over this grass so it can land on the putting surface.

Some key characteristics of a chip shot:

  • Played with a lofted iron like an 8-iron, 9-iron or wedge. The more loft, the higher the shot.
  • Wrists are firm at impact, allowing the loft of the club to lift the ball.
  • Swing is abbreviated, with little backswing and follow through.
  • Goal is to get the ball in the air but keep trajectory relatively low.
  • Want the ball to land softly and release towards the hole.

Bump and Run Overview

A bump and run is a low, bouncing shot played from just off the green. Rather than flying in the air, the ball bounces and rolls out along the ground. This shot is played with an iron or wedge with minimal loft.

The bump and run can be used when you have a tight lie in the fringe or rough near the green. Because it keeps the ball low, it is effective at avoiding banks or contours on the green that could send the ball off line.

Some characteristics of the bump and run:

  • Played with a 7-iron, 8-iron or wedge with little loft.
  • Ball makes contact with the ground quickly after impact.
  • Minimal backswing and follow through.
  • Wrists are firm, maintaining angle of club at impact.
  • Low, bouncing trajectory.
  • Ball should release and roll out after hitting the green.

Comparing the Shots

While the chip shot and bump and run share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two:

Trajectory:

  • Chip shots have a higher, arcing trajectory landing softly on the green.
  • Bump and runs stay low, bouncing and rolling out along the ground.

Club selection:

  • Chips are played with very lofted clubs, allowing the loft to lift the ball.
  • Bump and runs use less loft so the ball stays low.

Lie required:

  • Chips can be played from tangled rough or buried lies using the club loft.
  • Bump and runs require a decent lie and clean contact with the ball.

Margin of error:

  • Chip shots leave less room for error in strike and distance control.
  • Bump and runs have more room for error since the ball runs out after landing.

Green conditions:

  • Chips work better on soft, slower greens that will grab the ball.
  • Bump and runs can handle firm, fast greens where the ball releases more.

When to Use Each Shot

Deciding when to use a chip vs a bump and run depends on factors like your lie, the green conditions, and pin position:

Use a Chip When:

  • You have an iffy, tangled lie in the rough or long grass.
  • The green is soft and will grip the ball on landing.
  • There is an elevated or tiered green that requires getting the ball airborne.
  • The pin is located near the front of the green.

Use a Bump and Run When:

  • You have a decent lie in shorter grass or thin fringe.
  • The green is fast and firm so the ball will release out.
  • The green is relatively flat or has few contours.
  • The pin is located in the middle or back of the green.
  • There are banks or drop offs around the green to avoid.

Executing the Shots

Proper technique is required to hit quality chip shots and bump and runs:

Chipping Keys:

  • Narrow stance with weight favoring lead side.
  • Ball position is middle to back of stance.
  • Hands lead the clubhead through impact.
  • Accelerate club on downward blow through the ball.
  • Crisp contact on the ball then brush the grass after.
  • Follow through low towards target.

Bump and Run Keys:

  • Wide stance for stability, ball back in stance.
  • Minimal knee bend, maintain posture.
  • Clubface only slightly open at address.
  • Accelerate club through impact, no breaking of wrists.
  • Brush down into the ball, making sharp, crisp contact.
  • Land ball on green then let it release out.

Pros and Cons of Each

Chip Shot Pros:

  • Get over rough lies and long grass easily.
  • More control coming into softer greens.
  • Can attack pins located near front of green.
  • Handles hitting from tight lies.

Chip Shot Cons:

  • Less room for error in strike and distance judgment.
  • Have to clear banks and tiers with proper trajectory.
  • Requires practice to develop consistent contact and touch.

Bump and Run Pros:

  • Handles tight lies well.
  • Effective on firm, fast greens that require run out.
  • Avoid contours and banks by keeping shot low.
  • Easier to judge run out vs air time.

Bump and Run Cons:

  • Have to make crisp contact to execute properly.
  • Less ability to control on soft greens that grab the ball.
  • Can run off green more easily if distance is misjudged.
  • Less margin for error if you mis-hit the shot.

Key Takeaways

The chip and the bump and run are two go-to shots for getting your ball close to the hole when just off the green. While they share some similarities, their differences in trajectory, club selection and ideal conditions make them distinct.

Chips handle rough lies and soft greens better thanks to their loft and high ball flight. Bump and runs thrive on tight lies and firm greens where you want the ball to release out.

Practice both shots to develop touch, distance control and consistent contact. Decide which shot to use based on factors like lie, green condition and pin position. Mastering these short game skills will lead to lower scores.

Conclusion

Having a strong short game is crucial to scoring well in golf. The chip shot and bump and run provide two options for getting up and down when just off the green. While they share some similarities, their differences in ball flight, technique and ideal situations make them unique shots to have in your arsenal.

With practice, you can become adept at judging when to utilize a chip vs a bump and run based on your lie, green conditions and pin position. Developing touch and distance control with both shots will help you save strokes and shoot lower scores. Work on these short game skills regularly, and you’ll have the confidence to get up and down more consistently when you miss greens in regulation.

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