When and how should you use the bump and run golf shot?
23 Professionals Contributed
Bump & Run? When should I use it? What's the best technique?
The bump & run is one of the most fundamental shots in golf. Golfers of ALL skill levels should be proficient at this shot. To learn more about when to use it, and also learn the best technique for YOU, watch the video now!
Bump & Run, Gets it Done!
Green side chip shots are made easy when you maximize ground-time and minimize-air time! The bump and run shot is a great “go-to“ shot, around the green, more times than not! Play the ball in the back of your stance, lean the golf shaft forward, use a lower lofted club (like a 9-iron or even a 7-iron) and swing the club head low to the ground going back and keep it low coming through. No wrists here, this shot calls for a putting stroke type swing. You will chip the ball low, using this technique, so the ball will bump into the ground in front of the green and run up onto the green and to the hole. Keep it simple! Think putting stroke when you hit your green-side bump and run, to get it done! Enjoy!
Landing zone and Ratios
I think majority of golfers should use the bump and run shot anytime they are around the green and the ball is sitting in the shorter grass(fairway, fringe). I think it’s also important that the golfer understands the ratio of “airtime to roll “ depending on club choice. This will make it easier for golfers to make the correct club selection for the shot.
With this concept in mind, golfers must practice picking and hitting their landing spots. If they can pick the correct landing spot and then hit that landing spot, they will gain better control of the outcome.
Bump and Run to Make the Shot
The bump and run chip shot should be your “go to” shot when you’re around the green and can’t putt the ball. And it is a very make-able shot if you set up correctly and pick a landing area that allows the ball to release to the hole. Check out this video from 2019 where I explain the 50/50 rule and how a bump and run is make-able for all golfers.
BUMP IT UNDER PRESSURE
The Bump and Run is a shot that can be used for great approach shots to the green. Experiment with various clubs and practice many shots to find the right groove. The Bump and Run is typically a chip shot… low trajectory with more roll. The idea is to get the ball on the green and let it roll out like a putt. I would chip with a 50 degree or PW or 9 iron…. I would bump and run the ball when there is a lot of pressure. A nice club to use is the hybrid… much more sole to work with. Treat the shot like an aggressive putt. Choke down on the shaft, weight forward and make a sooth stroke. Experiment with different lofts, hybrids, irons…
Firm wristed chips are a must or your game is a bust!
Having a stock firm-wristed chip shot is an essential for anybody that plays the game!
In fact I would say short game skill is directly related to a lower handicap. In other words, the better player fully understands the need to putt any time putting is possible, chip if putting is not possible and pitch only if there is no other alternative. Low skill (high score) players go air born with their short game shots way too frequently and vice versa.
The chip is a shot with minimal air time and maximum roll time; while the pitch is max air and minimum roll. Getting high handicap players to understand that low rolling shots tend to require less skill and are more repeatable in terms of results is not an easy sell!
How to bump it and let it run out:
Grip down on club
Handle forward and weight forward
Ball first contact with an ascending blow kind of like an angled putting stroke
Flat left wrist pointed parallel to target line bent right wrist—transport this feeling back and through
Orient shoulders properly at address to make the ascending blow
Most players can do this easier from an open stance—more room for proper hand path
Stock distance that club goes back (learn to chip with different lofted clubs using the same stroke)
Get your carry to roll ratios through practice (trial and error—loft decreases rollout)
Chip it to the edge of the green and let it roll out like a putt (green reading is key)
Ball forward hits higher chips ball back in stance hits lower chips-find your uniform spot and lock it in
Learning how to bump the ball low and towards your target then letting it roll out should be most players go-to method to get up and down! Especially if little time is spent practicing the short game! Frankly, it is just an easier method to save par!
If your 8 iron bump and run is 1 yard in the air and 5 yards of roll you then must calibrate your PW, SW and maybe even a 5 iron. This makes for a repeatable chance of getting inside 10 feet to save par etc.,
So your methodology is to gage how far you need to bump it (to get to the edge of the green) then get an idea of how far it will have to roll to get to the hole from the landing spot. This is based on using the stock bump and changing clubs to get the desired roll out.
When you learn to calibrate your chipping game with a stock stroke and different lofted clubs you will eventually have the chance to get up and down from anywhere! Don’t be surprised if your scores start to decrease! The attached photo tells you just how many times all players need to get up and down during the course of the average round of golf!
Keep it LOW
I think most players, unless they are highly skilled would be much better off with the Bump and Run. I’ve got two rules of thumb on my short game outline I give folks.
1. Putt if you can, if you can’t putt chip (bump and run) if you can’t chip pitch (as a last resort)
2. Never use more loft than you need. The more loft the bigger and less consistent the swing and the more the ball is in the air the less predictable what it will do–on the ground is more predictable.
To hit the bump and run use a 5, 6, 7 iron or even a lofted hybrid. Set-up is crucial–for a right hander it’s feet very close together, choke down on the club and get very close to the ball with the shaft as vertical as you can (the more vertical the shaft the longer the clubhead stays on the target line). Then LEFT, LEFT, LEFT (for a left hander it’s RIGHT 3 times. Ball left, weight slightly on the left foot and hands just left of the ball. Very little to NO body movement on the backswing–shoulders and arms only, with almost no wrist hinge unless the shot is a long one. The forward swing, keep the hands/grip in front of the clubhead and try to hit the shot as low as possible while keeping the club very low to the ground on the follow through. If the clubhead passes the hands and comes up in the air the result will either be a fat shot or a shot that gets too high in the air.
It's All About The Lie
When teaching the short game, I am frequently asked what type of shot a student should be playing and my reply is simple. It’s all about the lie. If the lie is good, a golfer can play a variety of shots (hopefully one that they have practiced). If the lie is poor, then most of the time, a lower trajectory shot (bump and run) is the choice. The lower trajectory shot tends to be safer for many golfers because it requires that the bottom of the swing (low point) is in front of the ball. In most cases, this means that the clubhead will be moving downward or on a descending angle towards the ball (lower trajectory commonly referred to as the bump and run). When the clubhead is moving downward, contact is generally made with the ball first and the ground second. This is why it tends to be a safer shot.
The one secret that is not universally known to all golfers is that the toe of the club must get to the ball first in all shots. That is the way the golf club is designed. Even when hitting short game shots (low trajectory/mid-trajectory/high trajectory), the toe of the club must get to the ball first. When this happens, the result of the shot will be solid and square with a shallow divot. Practice this in all shots (especially the bump and run) and improvement will be made.
Left, left, and left.... let's get the ball rolling!!!
Most players should remember the phrase, “less air-time is better”… When the shot has room to roll to the hole, most players should use the bump and run shot. Primary reason, this has a much greater “margin for error” for the vast majority of players!
If you’re a right-handed player, just use the left, left, left setup….
Start with the ball in middle of stance, then move your body slightly left (moving ball slightly back in stance), then make sure your hands are LEFT of the ball, and finally your weight is more in your LEFT foot.
Once you’re setup, just swing your club of choice (I like my gap wedge for this shot) and swing it like a long putting stroke!
LEFT, LEFT, LEFT, and get the ball rolling toward the hole EVERY TIME!
Use your imagination!
So many players choose that “favorite” club that they almost always use to chip. I feel if they use a little imagination visualizing what they want to do, it will help them choose the right club.
First, is there any obstacle between you and the hole? If there is just green, you have many options. One, hit it high & roll a little. Hit it medium high, roll more. Roll it all the way to the hole. Let’s examine each one…
High & roll a little – You would probably use a sand or lob wedge, hit it most of the way there. This is not a bump & run! You may also hit it flush, which will create spin, so it could check up & not roll at all. Probably not the best choice.
Hit it medium, roll more – You could use your pitching wedge or even a 9 iron, hit it about halfway to the hole & let it roll the rest of the way.
Roll it all the way to the hole – If you are on the fringe, you can always putt, but really this is the true bump & run shot. I would use an 8 or 7 iron, some like a 5 iron, or even a hybrid. I would set up just like you chip, & you only have to hit it 3 feet or less, it will roll the rest of the way! You can also set up like a putt, using your putting grip, get the shaft of the club fairly vertical so the toe is down & stroke it like a putt.
These shots require practice! It’s not always your sand wedge or pitching wedge. Experiment with these shots, practice all three shots with one club, this will produce the feel of the shot(s) you want. It’s very similar to tossing the ball underhand. Good luck & have fun with it, you will see great results with practice & using your imagination!
Bump and run
Generally when playing a bump and run you need to make sure you have a clean opening to the green and usually it’s best when coming from a clean fairway lie or very light rough.
I suggest playing it off of your back foot with a 7,8 or 9 iron and lean more weight on your lead foot. To keep the thought process simple use your putting stroke. The hands and wrists should be quiet, not very active at all. In essence you are putting with more loft. The ball should only get off of the ground slightly and roll out like a putt.
It is a very safe play, especially if you are not very confident pitching the ball.
I usually recommend a smaller swing with a lower lofted club
It is often times a better option to bump and run if you are on the collar about 10 or 12 yards away from the edge of the green and you need to hit it into the hillside to take the forward roll away. With this shot I usually recommend a smaller swing with a lower lofted club. Often times from this position I suggest to a beginner to simply putt the ball onto the green!
3 keys for bump-n-run
A few keys to perfecting the bump-n-run.
1) Use a 8iron and small stance
2) swing hip high to hip high with firm wrists
3) visualize the landing area and hit the shot with “hook spin”
Bump & Run
If you want to gain control of your golf ball around the greens, I highly recommend learning the “Bump & Run” shot. The club choice should be one with low loft ( 4 hybrid, 7 iron etc). We’re looking to “bump” the golf ball into a landing spot before the green and allow the ball to “Run” to its resting spot. The ball should roll more than fly. The benefits of using this shot are, because of the longer & less lofted club choice, the stroke used is more of a putting stroke with minimal body movements. The Bump & Run shot is a great shot to have in your arsenal. Good luck & practice with a purpose!
Is it best to bump and run ? Depends...
While I do believe it is usually best to get the ball on the ground as soon as possible there are several factors to consider. I’m in Missouri most of our courses have zoysia green surrounds. This makes it very unpredictable to hit a bump and run shot. So most competent players use a lofted club to land on the green where the bounce of the ball is more predictable. That being said if you live where there is bent or bermuda surrounds learn to putt or bump it!
Keep it simple
The key to hitting a simple shot like a bump and run, keep it simple. Use a small swing and keep the club low to the ground. Experiment with lots of different clubs and see what you are most comfortable with and what produces the best results.
Less Loft for Better Result
Most golfers reach for the sand wedge when reaching the green no matter the position of the shot. Sometimes loft is needed but if you just need to roll or bump the ball forward use less loft like a 9 iron or less. Use your putting grip, lean the shaft forward slightly and make the stroke with your chest and shoulders much like a putt. Try to keep the club low to the ground with even pace and length. Try a few different clubs until you find the one that works best for you and then use this club every time you are faced with this shot. Good luck and keep the ball and club low!
Get it Rolling!
The short answer – as many of my fixes are – get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Here’s my theory: a ball rolling on the green is more predictable than one that flies to the hole with spin. Look to bump the ball so it lands 3 feet on and rolls to the hole. Change clubs to achieve this, not swings. Once you learn the feel, you’re set. And if you read it correctly, you just might make it!
Bump and run when you have firm conditions...
Bump and run is famous in the British Isles…Not here…However, with firm conditions on the course it is a good shot to hit…The best way to improve is try the following 9, 8 or 7 iron and see which one performs the best for the course conditions you are experiencing…
Get it on the Ground! (as soon as possible)
When deciding what shot to play around the green, use the guideline that you want to get the ball on the ground as soon as conditions will let you. Why? Frankly there are a number of reasons, but the main one has to do with the fact that if bring the ball in with height, you become much more dependent on how firm the green is. The problem is that you don’t know exactly how firm the green is and there’s no way to tell until after you hit! When you bring the ball in low, you know what the ball is going to do: It’s going to run. Try using your 8 iron first. When you get more comfortable, try using some different clubs. I’ll use anything from my pitching wedge all the way to my 6 iron. My coach used to call it a “putt that has a little airtime.” Give it a try!
Chose your landing area
My idea of the bump and run is when you can’t land it on the green and stop it by the hole because there is not enough green to work with or it is too much downhill so that the ball is rolling too fast. So you land short of the green and let it bounce and then roll onto the green and to the hole. Imagine you were going to toss a ball to the green where would you land it so it slows down enough to stop by the hole, use this idea and chose a club that is going to give you the height you visualized tossing it.
Own the bump and run!
I cannot overstate how important it is to have a go-to chip-and – run shot for players of all levels.
New players would likely shoot scores of 5 to 10 shots lower if you took that wedge out of their hands until they learn how to use it, and have the confidence and the experience to execute from the appropriate position.
Most great short game masters focus on getting the ball on the green and rolling out like a putt as soon as possible. Our “FEEL” is generally based on how a ball rolls out on a green, Yes, we do develop the FEEL of how far to fly the ball, but that feel is to get the ball to a spot on the green, where you can count on it rolling out to the cup.
Start out developing and practicing a standard chip and run with an 8 iron. Just chip it to the first portion, just on, or ¼ of the green and watch it roll out. Also, and have a go- to 56 degree wedge shot that you can count on when needed over a bunker or an obstacle.
These two shots are the basic tools you need to manage your game around the green.
If you are a numbers gal or guy, test yourself, find out for yourself which is the most effective.
Hit ten shots with a wedge, from 80 feet from the hole, and ten feet off of the green (70 feet of green to work with). Total up the distance of all of the balls. IE 100 ft total, 10 ft average).
Next after practicing and leaning your feel for the chip and run, do the same with an 8 iron. I will bet $50 bucks on ANY Player that the chip and run total will be significantly less, and there will be 0 bad miss-hits that result in big numbers on the course! Any one want a piece of me on this?
Point is, Its a much easier shot to hit. Easier to manage, resulting in a much more solid game!
Finally, if you are pig headed and still don’t see the light, do the same exercise off of tight sandy lies, and Ill double the wager to $100 dollars!
I prefer that the student think of the shot as a much more reliable , consistent and easier to execute low trajectory shot that you can count on rolling out to the hole. Remember , trial , error and experience is always your best teacher, explore the game this way , learn your tendencies ,and build confidence in yourself!