Unlike tour pros, we don’t have the benefit of knowing how many strokes we’re gaining or losing around the green compared to other golfers with similar handicaps. But here’s a good general rule: If you can consistently get down in three strokes inside 30 yards, you’re not going to lose ground on your competition. Chances are, you’ll probably pick up a few strokes.

On the flip side, follow a decent approach shot with a flubbed chip or skulled bunker shot and make double bogey, and you’ll not only be giving strokes away, but you’re sure to be steamed. These big misses around the green have a way of staying with you and can erode your confidence.

Around the greens, you need to find a way to get the ball on the green in one stroke and then two-putt—simple as that. Here’s how. —with Dave Allen


J.D. Cuban


Getting chips to the hole is a struggle for many amateurs. They tend to hit behind the ball or too much up on it, causing fat and thin contact. To chip it solid with good distance control, you need to get the low point of your swing under the ball or a little forward of it. That starts with level shoulders— unlike the full-swing setup. Address the ball, then touch your left hand to your left knee (above, far left) and re-grip the club with both hands (above, center). This adjustment moves your weight more on your front foot, helping you to pinch the ball off the ground. From here, chip the ball with the same tempo as you would a putt. “Tick-tock, brush the grass” is what I tell a lot of my students. Brush the grass on “tock,” and you should make crisp contact every time.


J.D. Cuban

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com