What Club Should You Use to Get Up and Down?
Partner Content

What Club Should You Use to Get Up and Down?

Support our Mission. We independently test each product we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

What Club Should You Use to Get Up and Down?

While the advent of Strokes Gained has taught us that the long game is critically important, for most average golfers the short game provides ample opportunity to save strokes and shave your handicap.

In an ideal world, we would hit every green and life would be good on the course. Unfortunately, at times, golf can feel anything but ideal, let alone good!

Naturally, we’re all going to miss greens and while every shot counts the same, our ability to get up and down can transform a terrible score into a great one … or at least one we can live with.

Take Less Loft

One easy-to-implement change that Shot Scope data suggests the majority of players would benefit from is taking less loft.

From the Shot Scope database, consisting of over 350 million shots, we have compiled data on short-game usage of 8-iron, 9-iron, and pitching wedge among 15-handicap golfers. We then compared it to that of a gap, sand and lob wedge to reveal where average golfers have an opportunity to save strokes.

First, let’s look at usage rates and the results.

  • 8i / 9i / PW combined usage = 20%
  • GW / SW / LW combined usage = 52%

In terms of club selection, 15 handicappers are 2.5 times more likely to use a GW/SW/LW than the lower-lofted options. However, this may not be in their best interest and may, in fact, be costing them strokes.

When it comes to converting their potential par save, 15 handicappers are eight percent more likely to be successful with a lower-lofted option.

Some may argue that eight percent is not a massive difference, but golf is a game of margins and every little bit helps over the course of a round.

Similarly, we see a four percent increase in the likelihood of finishing inside six feet with the lofted club. It goes without saying that the closer proximity makes a significant difference when it comes to making the putt.

The significance of finishing inside six feet from around the green

Shot Scope data reveals that, for a 15-handicap golfer, chances of making a putt from zero to six feet versus six to 12 feet are 45 percent higher.

The nearly 50-percent increase in the likelihood of making a putt is testament to how important proximity to the hole is.

Every foot counts.

Should you find yourself outside this six-foot zone (which is more than likely), then lag putting is a key skill to work on. While we’d all love to drain all our long putts, the data says we’re more likely to miss than make.

Therefore, we should try to control the extent to which we miss. Leaving putts short is most common among amateurs and can often lead to the dreaded three-putt. The perfect miss, if there is such a thing, would be a putt that finishes beyond the hole and inside three feet.

Inside three feet, players of all levels should be looking to convert a minimum of 93 percent of these putts – this is our handicap benchmark for a 25 handicapper.

If players can get dialed in on their distance control, then even their unsuccessful up and downs will be limited to a bogey rather than a double.

The takeaway message for on the course?

Where possible, use less loft. The data above all points towards saving strokes when we keep the wedge in the bag.

Putt if you can, chip if you can’t putt, pitch only if you have to.

Start Tracking your game with Shot Scope.

For You

For You

News
Apr 22, 2024
Strength Training for Golfers: Building a Strong and Stable Core
Golf Balls
Apr 22, 2024
Callaway Supersoft Mother’s Day Bouquet
Golf Technology
Apr 21, 2024
Testers Wanted: Shot Scope V5
MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

Our mission is #ConsumerFirst. We are here to help educate and empower golfers. We want you to get the most out of your money, time and performance. That means providing you with equipment reviews you can trust, as well as honest reporting on the latest issues affecting the game today. #PowerToThePlayer

MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

Ball Lab Golf Ball Quality Awards
Jan 22, 2024 | 31 Comments
How Long Does a Round of Golf Take?
Nov 15, 2023 | 0 Comments
MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

Driver Ping G30 Hybrids PXG 0317
3/4 IRON PXG 0311XF 5-GW Srixon Z 565
SW PXG 0317 LW PXG 0311
Putter EVNROLL  
MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy

MyGolfSpy





    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

      pineneedlespro

      2 months ago

      Getting the golf ball up and onto the green as soon as possible is best no matter what club is used, or you can use the 30 percent in the air and 70 percent roll rule.

      Reply

      Donn

      2 months ago

      I use a 25 degree chipper a lot. An old Don Martin Up-n-In, bronze or copper. Short shaft, same as a putter. I use it within 10 or 15 yards to the fringe, and closer. I use a 60 degree wedge if I have to go over sand or a bump/hill.

      Reply

      Mike B

      2 months ago

      I am a practitioner of putt when you can, but this is often not feasible. I chip with different clubs, and very rarely with anything with less loft than a 9 iron. The lie, the speed and hardness of the green, whether I’m chipping into an upslope, downhill, or side slope are taken into consideration when selecting the club. I probably chip the most with my 48° GW, but I may use my 58° LW if the chip is downhill. I practice chipping with all the clubs I use for this. Like so many things in golf, it’s what works best for you.

      Reply

      David Modeer

      2 months ago

      I am 77 years old and have played golf for over 65 years. I learned caddying at my cities public course before there were golf carts. The pro at that course taught all of us juniors that around the green “get the ball rolling as soon as you can”. It’s much more consistent than trying to fly the ball to a specific spot. When I was between 16 and 22 years old I was a scratch player or better but when I started my career after college I never came close to that skill level. I am now a 7.5 handicap golfer and still adhere to my former pros advice of getting the ball on the ground quickly. Of course in the late 50s and 60s we only had pitching wedges and sand wedges. To this day I am uncomfortable with any club higher lofted than 52 degrees. If you have the time to practice with higher lofted wedges you may learn to be more comfortable. For me a lower lofted club assures me of making solid contact much more often giving me better consistency. I grew up in St. Joseph, MO and we didn’t have sprinkler systems. We depended on Mother Nature or hand watering so having grass in August some years was hit and miss!

      Reply

      Jim Swyer

      2 months ago

      I am a firm believer in the situation determines the club I will use. So many variables I have a hard time justifying my usual go to club.

      Reply

      Dr Tee Lassar

      2 months ago

      I have been working with short game coach Dan Bubany (danbubanygolf.com) at LaPaloma CC in Tucson for a few years. The first change he made in my short game was old advice: putt when you can putt it. The next big change was what he calls “putting with loft”, ie using progressively lower lofted clubs with a putting swing depending on distance from the pin including hybrids when appropriate. Next piece of advice: read the lie. DUH ! I note an earlier post by K.O. describing “rule of eleven”. Actually , there is a “rule of 12” described by “Little Poison” Paul Runyan relating the precise relationship to the amount of roll to the loft on any given club. It is based on the principle that for every yard of carry, the ball will roll 2 yards. It goes as follows and requires a little math and pacing out your distances: pick a landing area 2-3 yards onto the green. Pace out the distance from your ball to the landing area. Pace out the total distance from your ball to the pin(target). Distance to target/distance to landing zone = X. 12-X is the club you should use, assigning numbers as follows 12=LW, 11=SW (54-56 degree), 10=PW, then 9,8,7 etc . Add or subtract calculated club number depending on significant uphill, downhill , grain, nearby mountains etc. Should get your ball into your “one putt zone” much more frequently as long as your playing partners will put up with your meticulous measurement of distances.

      Reply

      Ken Oscarson

      2 months ago

      I use the rule of eleven to select my chipping club and then pick my landing spot 4-6 ft onto the green. Can usually hit the 6’ circle. 11- club # is fly vs roll ratio. A 9 iron will roll 2X the flight distance. 11-9=2.

      Reply

      PHDrunkards

      2 months ago

      Depends on the situation, course conditions, course types (desert, grassland/ links/ tree lines etc) grass type, elevation/altitude, course slopes etc etc
      The data is too skewed as it doesn’t break down the numbers situationally.
      We need to see what they are if the shots are downhill/downslope, over a bunker short side, stimp meter speeds, long range putts but what about the breaks left/right and how much etc etc – what are the numbers depending on the situation???
      I always find this type of data far too generalised and laughable, simplified on purpose to fool people into thinking they need to tick those boxes to be better when it’s not like that at all, putting pressure on amateurs on purpose to make them feel nervous about everything getting into their heads whether they are doing things “right”
      lol

      Reply

      WYBob

      2 months ago

      When I started play golf in the late 1960’s I primarily used my 7 iron and 8 iron for chip shots around the green. They were very effective clubs and usually produced better results. As I recall my 7i was about 40 degrees of loft, and my 8 iron was about 44 degrees. In todays lofts, that would be a 9 iron and PW. Upon reflection, your point about using lower lofted clubs makes perfect sense to anyone who played before the manufactures started to significantly jack club lofts. As a result of your article my current 9i and PW will be getting a lot more use this year. Or said another way- what is old is new again. BTW- there were no gap wedges, as the typical PW back then had 50-52 degrees of loft.

      Reply

      Fred

      2 months ago

      What are the distances we are looking at? How would the use of a hybrid or fairway wood compare? What about a putter in the same circumstances?

      Reply

      Rich

      2 months ago

      Good data! I do wonder however if there’s any correlation between lower handicaps playing nicer courses on average and thus have better playing conditions than the average of their higher handicap counterparts? I know when I’m playing a nice course with consistent conditions, I’m much more confident in my bump and runs than some gutted muni where I have no confidence in how the turf is going to react.

      Only thing worse than a lob wedge only making it halfway to the pin, is a bump and run that doesn’t clear the inconsistent rough of a public track and goes 3 feet.

      Reply

      Mike

      2 months ago

      Good article. About 10 years ago I started using lower loft clubs for pitch & run shots. I’ve watched so many high handicappers try to emulate the pros & take a lob wedge when they’re a foot off the green in very light rough w/ a far-away pin. Invariably, they always end up way short!

      Reply

      BH

      2 months ago

      As I’ve gotten into early middle age, I try to use the lowest loft I can get away with around the green. I very rarely go below a GW though.

      Reply

      Pete

      2 months ago

      I am a believer that lower is better, however, I’m thinking that the ones using the 8-PW are on average, closer to the green than those who are using GW-LW. Is there any data on this?

      Reply

    Leave A Reply

    required
    required
    required (your email address will not be published)

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    News
    Apr 22, 2024
    Strength Training for Golfers: Building a Strong and Stable Core
    Golf Balls
    Apr 22, 2024
    Callaway Supersoft Mother’s Day Bouquet
    Golf Technology
    Apr 21, 2024
    Testers Wanted: Shot Scope V5
    ENTER to WIN 3 DOZEN

    Titleist ProV1 Golf Balls

    Titleist ProV1 Golf Balls
    By signing up you agree to receive communications from MyGolfSpy and select partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy You may opt out of email messages/withdraw consent at any time.