Perfect the Bump and Run
for Lower Scores
|| Dave Pelz
Dave Pelz Golf
The bump and run is a shot all golfers should know how to play. Although many
Americans consider it a shot relegated to links-style or British Open-type
courses, it can be a big asset to your short game on any golf course.
The bump-and-run is a low running shot that lands short of the green with
minimal backspin, bounces and runs along the fairway or rough onto the green
and toward the flagstick. The bump-and-run is largely unaffected by wind and is
sometimes the only shot capable of handling a hard, fast green. Unlike chip
shots, which land on the green (or at the very least, close to it), the
bump-and-run lands at least two or three bounces and, sometimes many more short
ones, before running on. Bump and runs travel more distance than chips,
covering anywhere from 50 to 100 yards and landing only about halfway to the
green before rolling the rest of the way.
Your scorecard doesn’t reward style points. There is no place to indicate that
you carried the ball in the air to the green or if it ran low and bounced on.
What matters is whether or not it stayed out of trouble and finished close
enough to the hole to let you make a good score.
The bump and run is not a chip, but it does share two characteristics common to
the chip: "The lower the better" and, "the less spin, the more predictable the
For solid, reliable impact and minimal backspin, the bump-and-run swing requires
a low, sweeping motion through impact-- not a descending blow. The shaft should
be gripped at full length (no gripping down), to encourage the flattest angle
of attack. The 5- and 6-iron are the most commonly used for the bump and run,
although any loft from 3-iron up can be used.
Play a bump-and-run with the ball positioned in the center of your stance and
swing so that your forearms release naturally through impact. The length of
your backswing will dictate the distance the ball goes, so this shot requires
some yardage-gauging practice similar to the way you should practice hitting
wedges to targets of varying distances.
I’m such a believer in practicing the bump-and-run, I designed my first Dave
Pelz Short Course at The Club at Cordillera in Edwards, CO to include the
option to bump-and-run from every tee (The Short Course has a set of level tees
and a set of uneven tees on every hole).
If I had my choice on how you should practice ideally to improve your short
game, I would put you on a schedule of practice drills four days a week, and
have you play nine holes on the Short Course on four of those days:
Day One: Take all your clubs and play through the air from the level
Day Two: Take all your clubs and play through the air from the uneven
Day Three: Take your 5-iron and putter only. Play on the ground, using
your bump-and-run game from the level tees.
Day Four: Take your 6-iron and putter. Play on the ground from the uneven
If you could do what I suggest here, your entire game would improve. I realize
not everyone can get to Colorado’s Vail Valley to play the Short Course, but
you can definitely practice the bump-and-run with the target greens at your
local driving range. I don’t want you to practice your full swing less. Rather,
I want you to practice your short game more. And I can assure you, if you
practice and use your bump-and-run game on a regular basis, your scores will
improve on every course you play.