Seven years ago to this day, I was in my living room in a hospital bed we had rented for me to stay in following back surgery I had had two days earlier. Since I wasn’t going anywhere soon, I watched a lot of television.
I watched all the Dollar westerns, and Once Upon a Time In the West.
I also watched a lot of golf, including the Waste Management Open, the very one being played this weekend. All four rounds.
When you have nothing else you can do but watch, you can’t get up and wander into the kitchen to get a snack, for example, you really watch.
This is what I saw.
Whenever a player played a chip or a short pitch, they ROLLED the ball up to the hole. There was no flying the ball up the hole and making it stop on a dime.
Now that’s a spectacular shot, and it has its place, but it rarely ever gets done what a touring pro wants to get done—put the ball in the hole.
You see, the pros aren’t trying to get these shots close. They’re trying to sink them. It’s a rolling ball that will go in.
I had never noticed that until I saw a steady diet of it over four days.
The next weekend I was still housebound and I saw it again at the next tournament, the AT&T at Pebble Beach.
Roll the ball to the hole, don’t fly it there.
So when I was able to get up and around, but not able to swing a golf club, I had a lesson on chipping. From the ground up, learning how to roll the ball.
That, and lots of practice, changed me from an indifferent chipper into a very good chipper. Chipping is one of the strengths of my game.
So when you practice around the green, if you’re not doing so already, practice that way. Roll it.