But most of the time you've got some space to work with. When you do, a short iron is much more forgiving. Because the face of the club is taller, you're less likely to go under the ball and leave it in the rough -- the notorious "chile dip." And you don't have to swing as hard, so your touch is better and you're more likely to get the ball close to the hole.
If there's a trick to this shot, it's that you can do it more than one way. I found this video that gives you a really good view of one way to set up and play it -- a 7-iron chip using a putting stroke:
Here are the important "technique" things to note:
- The shaft is in line with your forearms. This makes it much easier to use your putting stroke for this shot. (Side note: If you're having trouble with your putting and you aren't holding your putter so its shaft is in line with your forearms, you now know part of your problem. Check my Basic Principles of Good Putting -- this is #4.)
- The 7-iron is slightly up on its toe. There are other ways to chip with an iron, but this one creates less resistance as the head slips through the rough. You'll need to try a few practice strokes before you try this on the course though; the loft of the club is now at an angle, so you may have to grip the club so the face is slightly open.
- Of course, you need to make sure that you hit slightly down on the ball.
If you've never used this method before but you often find yourself just off the green, this little chipping technique can save you a lot of strokes. It's a great way to let your putting stroke do double duty, and it may even help your putting.