Bump and Run 101: How To Get It Up and Down
A bump and run is one of the most trusty shots in golf.
While it might not have the appeal of a high flop shot, it’s a lot more reliable. In a game where crazy things happen all the time and you’re playing against the odds, reliability is a good thing to have.
All golfers need a go-to shot when they miss the green. Because the higher your handicap, the more greens in regulation you will miss. In fact, the average PGA Tour player only hits about 65% of greens in regulation.
Needless to say, chipping and scrambling is a big part of the game.
To help you scramble and save shots around the green, I want to teach you the bump and run. Keep reading to learn the fundamentals of this golf shot, when to use, and what clubs make it easy.
Related: Best Short Game Tips
Bump and Run Basics
First off, what is a bump and run in golf?
A bump and run is a shot in which you “bump” it into the ground and let it “run” toward the hole. This is not a shot where you get the ball high and land softly like a pitch or flop shot. Instead, the shot only goes a few yards and then rolls out like a putt.
You should hit a bump and run only under the right circumstances though. Here are the best times to use this handy chip shot:
- A good lie. If you’re in the deep rough, this shot won’t work. Only play this shot when the lie is in the fairway cut or very light rough. It also works well if you’re hitting from a tight lie and need to hit down on the shot.
- Plenty of green between the fringe and the hole (aka, “long sided). This shot will have a lot of forward spin so you won’t want to play it if you don’t have a ton of green to work with.
- Nothing between you and the green. This isn’t the type of shot to play if you need to cover a bunker or other penalty area!
- Flat or uphill shot. If the chip shot is downhill and the greens are fast, opt for something with higher loft or you might chip it over the green.
- Hitting from the trees. While the bump and run is normally used around the greens, it can help you escape trouble too. If you find yourself in the trees and need to chip back out to the fairway this shot can help. Use a short iron and follow the steps below to get the ball back in play to avoid a blowup hole on the scorecard.
How to Hit a Bump and Run Golf Shot
Hitting a bump and run shot is pretty easy compared to other short game shots like a flop or hitting from the sand. Follow this step-by-step process and this shot will become automatic in no time.
Step 1: Choose the Right Club
The first step in mastering this basic chip shot is using the right golf club. While most golfers use a 56 or 60-degree wedge around the green, you don’t want that much loft for this type of shot.
Instead, you want less loft – somewhere between a gap wedge (between 50-52 degrees) or even a short iron. The longest iron I would recommend for this shot is an 8 or 9-iron. Anything more and it’s nearly impossible to get the ball to stop rolling.
Less loft is required because you don’t want backspin with this type of chip shot. Instead, you want to drive the ball down and get it rolling like a putt.
Just remember the longer the club you use, the more it will roll out. There is no “right club” for this type of shot – every golfer is different.
Personally, I like to use a gap wedge as I struggle with distance control with longer clubs. But other golfers prefer to use pitching wedges or short irons. The key is to test out different clubs around the chipping green and see which one gives you the most confidence and consistency.
Also Read: 15 Putting Tips To transform Your Short Game
Step 2: Pick Your Spot
Picking the right club is crucial but most golfers get into the setup and skip a critical component – the landing spot. Before walking up to the ball and making the adjustments to your setup, find a spot where you want the ball to land.
Depending on the shot, it could be on the green or even on the fringe. It’s a good idea to avoid landing it in the rough as it’s very inconsistent with how the ball will bounce.
Another pro-tip with picking a landing spot is to be wary of the collar. If you land the ball on the edge of the fringe it can lead to aggressive bounces (known as fringe bounces) and can sabotage your shot.
If you’re landing on the green, make sure to pick a spot at least three paces from the fringe. If you’re landing it in the fairway cut or fringe, pick a target that gives you some clearance from the collar.
Try to find something easy to spot too – like an old cup, divot, or discolored grass. This way you can easily focus on it during your pre-shot routine.
Please do not skip this step!
So many golfers look at the flag as the last image before hitting their chip shot and end up sailing it over the green. Instead, make your last image the landing spot!
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Step 3: Adjust Your Address Position
Once you have the right club and landing spot, the bump and run starts by adjusting your setup. The shot is more like a putt than a chip so it’s important to stand close to it so the handle gets more upright. You should feel almost as close to the ball as you do when putting (eyes slightly underneath the golf ball).
Next, raise the handle of the club so it’s more upright like a putter shaft. This will lower the toe of the club up and make it more square to the ball at address. Choke up 1-1.5 inches to make it closer to a putter length as well.
Finally, make sure you have the correct ball position for this chip shot. You want to play this in the back-center of your stance to ensure ball first contact.
Make sure to not play it too far back (off your back foot) as it can lead to hitting shots fat. Like choosing the right club, test out different ball positions to see which feels the best for your setup.
Step 4: Lean Left
Once you’re in a good setup position, the next step is to get more of your weight to your lead side leg. You want about 70-80% of your weight forward to ensure you hit down on the golf ball.
If your weight is too far back, it’s easy to hit up on the shot and thin it over the green. You should be able to stand on your lead leg if you picked up your trail foot. This simple setup adjustment will make a big difference with your strike.
The last part of your setup to adjust is your hand position. You want the shaft slightly forward so it removes loft – sort of like a forward press in putting. This makes it easier to get the ball rolling once it hits the ground.
Step 5: Rock the Shoulders
Less is more with the bump and run shot; you don’t need a ton of motion to hit this shot consistently. Instead, feel like you’re rocking your shoulders back and forth to get your upper body doing most of the work. This is a very similar motion to putting.
Since it’s a short shot, you don’t need much hip rotation and your lower body should remain stable. Plus, when your lower body is steady, it will ensure you don’t laterally sway and adjust the bottom point of your shot.
You want minimal wrist action for this shot. If you hinge your wrists, it will lead to creating more backspin as you’ll hit down on the shot.Instead, keep your wrists in the same position throughout the swing. If you need a good look at this chipping move, watch the below YouTube clip of Steve Stricker chipping.
Step 6: Don’t Skip Your Pre-Shot Routine
Next, make several practice swings close to the golf ball. Take 1-3 mini swings to get comfortable with the shot and adjusted setup.
Once you feel comfortable, confirm your landing spot one last time. Then, address the ball, look at the spot one last time, and pull the trigger.
Step 7: Stay Aggressive
The final bump and run tip is to stay aggressive through the shot. You don’t want to decelerate at the last minute and stub or thin your chip shot.
Keep your weight left, hands ahead of the ball, and focus on hitting the back of the golf ball. You should finish with your hands at knee height. This will ensure you hit the ball, then the turf for a clean strike.
Hopefully, it’ll hit near your spot and release on the green like a putt. Overall, this is a high percentage shot that is easy to hit once you master the few adjustments at address position.
Top Questions About Chipping
The sooner you can master this shot, the more your short game can save you shots around the green. If you need more tips, keep scrolling through the top questions below.
Is bump and run the same as chipping?
A bump and run is very similar to a chip shot. The only difference is that golfers can sometimes use short irons and not just wedges for this type of shot. But overall, they are nearly one and the same.
What club should you bump and run with?
Test out different clubs and see what works best for you. Personally, I only use a gap wedge as I feel like I have the most control. But other golfers prefer short irons and some use all the way up to a 7-iron.
Related: Golf Wedge Buying Guide
How far can you bump and run a golf shot?
The cool thing about a bump and run is that you can use it for a variety of distances. This shot is a favorite in links golf where the ground is hard and lies are tight. It’s not uncommon to see players use it all the way up 60 or 70 yards if the conditions allow for it.
But in general, this shot is played inside 10 yards when you’re just off the green. It’s ideal if you’re chipping uphill, have plenty of green to work with, and a good lie. Once you master the basics you might start chipping them in too!
Do pros chip with a glove on?
Some pros do while others prefer to remove their glove for more feel. It’s not uncommon to remove your glove for shots around the green. Not to mention, 99% of professionals remove it while putting too.
The bump and run is one of the most dependable shots in all golf. The sooner you master the basics of this shot, the more strokes you will save around the green. Not only will you lower your score, you will maintain momentum when you miss the green.
Don’t forget, missing greens is part of golf. It’s up to you to develop a short game with an arsenal of shots for whatever you might face.
Overall, this is one of the easiest shots to hit and also one of the most consistent. If you keep your weight forward and stay aggressive, it’s pretty hard to mishit it. Even if you do mishit it slightly, your misses will be much better than a high-lofted pitch shot.
What club do you use for a bump and run?
Let us know in the comments below.