How do you hit a "checker" shot in golf?

Permit me to explain the intricacies of executing a “checker” shot in golf. The “checker” shot is a skilled maneuver that allows you to control the trajectory and spin of the ball in order to stop it quickly on the green. To perform this shot, position the ball towards the back of your stance, and open the clubface slightly at address. Then, execute a descending blow on the ball, allowing it to have backspin and land softly on the green.

The Basics of the “Checker” Shot

Before we delve into the specifics of executing a “checker” shot in golf, let’s start with the basics to ensure everyone is on the same page. This type of shot is also known as a “bump and run” or “chip and run”, and it is a crucial skill to master if you want to improve your short game.

Definition and Characteristics

The “checker” shot is a low-trajectory shot typically played with a 7-iron, 8-iron, 9-iron, pitching wedge, or sand wedge. It is characterized by minimal airtime and a focus on rolling the ball along the ground towards the target. This shot is often employed when the pin is close to the edge of the green, and there are no obstacles between the ball and the hole.

Situations and Strategies for Using the “Checker” Shot

When faced with tight lies or firm conditions around the green, the “checker” shot can be a lifesaver. It allows for better control and consistency, giving you the confidence to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Additionally, using this shot in windy conditions can help keep the ball under control and significantly reduce the impact of the wind on the trajectory. It’s important to analyze the lie of the ball, the distance to the target, and the conditions of the surroundings before deciding to play a “checker” shot.

Techniques for the “Checker” Shot

While hitting a “checker” shot in golf may seem challenging, the right techniques can help you master this impressive shot. In this chapter, I will discuss the key techniques for successfully executing a “checker” shot on the golf course.

Setup and Stance

When it comes to setting up for a “checker” shot, your stance and setup are crucial for success. Position the ball slightly back in your stance, with about 60-70% of your weight on your front foot. This will allow you to strike down on the ball and generate the backspin needed for the shot. Additionally, open your stance slightly to allow for a cleaner, crisper contact with the ball. Always ensure your grip is relaxed but firm, providing stability and control throughout the swing. Remember to maintain a consistent spine angle throughout the swing to optimize contact with the ball.

Swing Mechanics and Impact

As you address the ball, keep your hands ahead of the clubhead to promote a downward strike. This will help produce the necessary backspin for the shot. When executing the swing, focus on a smooth and controlled acceleration through impact. Your goal is to make clean and solid contact with the ball while maintaining a shallow angle of attack. Strive to hit the ball before the turf, creating the spin and trajectory required for a successful “checker” shot. As you make contact with the ball, ensure a firm and stable lower body to provide the foundation for a crisp and controlled strike.

Practice Routines and Drills

Your ability to consistently hit a “checker” shot in golf will depend on the amount of time and effort you put into practicing. To improve your skills, it’s essential to incorporate effective practice routines and drills into your training regimen. By doing so, you can develop the necessary skills and muscle memory to execute the shot with precision on the golf course.

Developing Consistency

Consistency is key in mastering the “checker” shot. One effective way to develop consistency is to focus on your rhythm and tempo during practice. I recommend starting with short pitch shots and gradually working your way up to longer distances. By focusing on maintaining a smooth and consistent swing tempo, you can improve your ability to control the distance and trajectory of the ball. Additionally, practicing with different clubs and stances will help you adapt to various situations on the course, ultimately leading to greater consistency in your “checker” shots.

Drills for Improving Your “Checker” Shot Performance

One of the most effective drills for improving your “checker” shot performance is the “gate drill.” This drill involves placing two alignment sticks or tees on the ground to create a narrow gate through which you must hit your shot. By practicing with this drill, you can enhance your accuracy and hone in on your ability to land the ball within a specific target area. Additionally, incorporating putting drills that focus on distance control can also help improve your “checker” shot performance, as these drills require a delicate touch and precise control over the ball’s speed and distance.

Advanced Tips and Common Mistakes

However, hitting a “checker” shot in golf requires some advanced techniques and it’s easy to fall into common mistakes. Let’s take a look at some tips and pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Advanced Tips
  2. Common Mistakes

Fine-Tuning Your Technique

When it comes to fine-tuning your technique for hitting a “checker” shot, I focus on my ball position and club selection. Keeping the ball slightly back in my stance and using a higher lofted club helps me achieve the necessary backspin for the shot. Ensuring a clean, crisp contact with the ball is also crucial for generating the desired spin.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

One common pitfall to avoid when hitting a “checker” shot is decelerating through impact. This can result in inconsistent contact and insufficient spin on the ball. It’s important to maintain a smooth, accelerated swing to produce the desired backspin. Another mistake to avoid is using too much wrist action, which can lead to inconsistent results. Instead, focus on a controlled, firm wrist during the swing to achieve the desired spin.


With this in mind, hitting a “checker” shot in golf requires the perfect combination of technique and touch. By opening the clubface, leaning the shaft forward, and making a shorter, controlled swing with ample wrist hinge, you can produce the necessary backspin to hit a shot that checks up quickly on the green. It takes practice to master, but once you’ve got the technique down, you’ll be able to confidently tackle those tricky approach shots with ease.

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