Paul Runyan Golf Lesson: The Greenside Chip Trick
June 30th, 2016
Old time golf champion Paul Runyan, a well known 2-time PGA Championship winner (1934 and 1938) was well-known for his short game expertise. And despite being one of the shortest hitters of his day, Paul won at least 50 times on the PGA Tour.
Every now again Mr. Runyan would be kind enough to give short game lessons and various golf tips to PGA professional players that would be passed on to their students. One such tip, or best described as a "specialty shot", is referred to as "The Runyan". This is not an official term for this particular golf lesson but it's best to give credit where credit is due.
The Best Scenario For The Runyan Shot
There will invariably be times when you find your golf ball extremely close to the hole, just off the green. The last thing you want to do is putt the ball through a long section of grainy grass fringe. Doing so can invite disaster because of the unpredictable direction that the ball could venture into. The wiry grass can slow down your shot and knock the ball off line.
Another option is to chip the ball through the long grass. However, this can be a daunting task because the club may be knocked off-balance if the grass grabs at it during the swing. When this happens, the face of the club may turn when you try to swing through. Also, the ball may travel too far past the hole if it is located very close to your swing area.
The Runyan Shot
These tough situations can be conquered through practice and confidence with specific short game techniques. This would be the perfect time to utilize Paul Runyan's specialty shot. Here is how you do it:
1. Get into your putting stance and keep your front foot slightly open a bit.
2. Make sure you are standing close to your target line.
3. Now hold the club in a vertical position, as you would a putter. The 7-iron is my personal choice here and works well. The club should be standing up on its toe, with the heel off of the ground.
4. Your grip should be the same as you would grip a putter.
5. Now you want to de-loft the club by positioning the ball in the center of your stance.
6. Swing the club straight back and then through, just like a pendulum, the same as when you are putting. Keep the clubhead low to the ground and try using as much of the shoulders and arms as possible.
When you hit the ball, contact is made with the toe of the club. The toe causes the swing to slightly deaden the hit. Due to a small amount of loft, the ball will ride the face of the club ever so slightly. This causes some overspin and helps the ball roll forward.
The ball should hop right out of the grass but remain low, as a standard chip shot would. Then it will roll softly towards the hole. Your goal is to have the ball roll for at least 75% to 80% of the shot. The Runyan shot causes the ball to ride up the clubface, spin, and hit the green.