The short game in golf simplified – is having the golfer play the odds. The quicker a golfer can get the ball on the ground and rolling towards the hole the better. So with this in mind, the process for evaluating / deciding the shot to hit around the green should be as follows:
Evaluate the lie – good lie allows the golfer to hit either a low or high shot, mediocre to poor lie limits the player to shots of a lower trajectory or rolling.
Evaluate distance from edge of green and location of hole.
Once both of these items have been evaluated a golfer needs to see if a low trajectory or rolling golf ball will work. If you are a couple feet off the green, the apron is in good condition, the grain is not an issue and the hole is in an accessible location, putting is the way to go. The old saying, “a bad putt is usually better than a good chip” comes to mind. If the ball is say 10′ off the green and you have plenty of the green to work with, a chip may be the shot of choice. Again, getting the ball to start rolling as soon as possible. If your shot is further away from the green than the 10′ and lie and access to hole location are challenging, you might need to make a decision based on comfort level of risk. Is this a chip or pitch opportunity? Once you decide, commit to the shot and don’t second guess yourself. Most bad shots around the green are caused by golfers not fully convinced they picked the best option.
Your odds are in your favor if you can get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Our goal is to minimize the risk for the shot and maximize our chances of scoring as low as possible.