Bump and Run Shot in Golf (Overview and Tips)

The bump and run is a simple chip shot in golf, typically played with a 7, 8 or 9 iron, where the ball is hit with a putting-like motion with the iron that sends the ball in the air for a limited time before rolling towards the hole.  A great deal of the shot involves the ball rolling on the ground.

The bump and run shot in golf is an essential shot.

The golfer must be able to get the ball inside of 3 feet a higher percentage of the time and even give the ball a chance to in the hole on occasion.

When mastered, the shot can be easy and seen as a scoring opportunity. 

The great news for golfers is that the bump and run and chipping in general does not take a great deal of strength, speed, or athletic ability in order to be able to master.  The golfer, with enough practice, can become really good at the shot and see it as a strenght of his or her game.

Bump and Run Shot in Golf

  • What is the bump and run shot
  • When to use the bump and run shot
  • Why use the bump and run shot
  • How to hit the bump and run (5 Tips)
Make sure you spend time around the practice green!

What is the bump and run shot in golf?

Update: This is the most basic golf shot that many of our students first learn around the practice green. Even though it is basic, golfers need to continue to fine tune, practice and ensure they can get up and down for par a high percentage of the time. Keep it simple and use a putting like motion!

The shot is a golfer’s best friend because the shot should be easy.  It is the same motion as a putting stroke, but with an iron in your hand.  Golfers can use any club in the bag for a bump and run and some players heaven been known to use a fairway wood or hybrid depending on the lie they find themselves in.

When to use the bump and run shot in golf?

When the ball is on the fringe or only several feet into the rough.  Typically, there will be plenty of green to work with and the golfer has plenty of space to have the ball roll towards the hole.  It is the ideal shot when the golfer just needs the ball to fly in the air for a very short period of time and wants to have the ball roll towards the hole for a high percentage of the shot.

The golfer will have hit a decent approach shot and just barely missed the green.  On occasion, the shot might be really short if the pin is tucked on the same side where the golfer missed the green.  This is when a golfer might use just a 9 iron, pitching wedge or even a sand wedge if the ball doesn’t need to travel a significant distance.  The extra loft can help reduce the total travel distance of the golf ball.  

Why use the bump and run shot in golf?

It is a safe shot that is a higher percentage shot.  When there is plenty of green to work with, the golfer by using the bump and run can eliminate the chunked or bladed shot by sticking with the putting-like motion used in the bump and run.

Overall, the golfer provides themselves with a chance to make the shot as it is similar to a putt, but with an iron in the hands.  This simple putting-like motion makes it easy to control the contact, the distance, the start line and the overall quality of the shot.

Bottom line is that there is very little chance of a really poor shot and a high chance of a really good shot due to the simplicity of the shot.

The bump and run becomes important on difficult greens!

How to hit the bump and run shot in golf (5 Tips)

  • Select the proper ball position
  • Select the right golf club
  • Select your swing speed
  • Select your swing length
  • Use a putting like motion

Tip #1: Select the proper ball position

I prefer to play the ball just back of center with my feet fairway close together.  The golfer will want to stand somewhat tall and let the arms hang lightly.  Swinging fast is not important here, so the golfer should set up for stability to be able to control the motion and the direction of the shot.

The golfer will want to assess the lie and pick a ball position that adjust to the lie.  If the ball is sitting up a bit in the rough, you might want to play the ball forward to catch it just slightly on the upswing.  If the ball is sitting down in the rough, you might consider playing the ball further back to ensure ball first contact.

Once reading the lie, make several strokes nearby to read how the club will interact with the ground as you make this putting motion with your iron.

Related Post: Chipping with a 7 iron (5 Tips)

Tip #2: Select the right club

Once you have assessed the total distance, consider what club would be the best option.  I prefer to make a length of swing that would be similar to the length I would make with a putter if using the putter from this distance.

However, I also consider how far the ball has to fly to get to the green.  If you are further away from the green and have some thick or fringe to navigate, you might go with the higher lofted iron to help carry you to the green before the ball begins the roll out.

If you are really close to the green any iron will work and if you have to decide what length stroke and what speed stroke you want to make.

Tip #3: Select your swing speed

Tips 3 and 4 will go together in combination.  Once you have selected your club, you should work on what swing speed you want to use.  I typically use three different speeds.  A slow, medium and fast speed are my three options.  I then match it up with the swing length that will produce the distance that I need.

Helpful Post: How to make more short putts (5 simple steps)

Tip #4: Select your swing length

Once you have a speed that you are comfortable with, select the length of the swing that will produce the distance that you need for the specific shot.  Similar to the speed options, I have three different lengths I use as well: short, medium, long.  I prefer to avoid the longer length with the bump and run and will increase my swing speed to not have to use the longer stroke.

Helpful Post: Chipping with a 9 Iron (5 Tips)

Tip #5: Use a putting like motion

After you have read the green and determined your start line and have gone through the selection of the club, swing speed and swing length it is time to use the putting like motion.  Go ahead and rehearse the motion around 3-5 times or until you are comfortable.  You want to engrain this length and the speed into your system.  Next step up to the shot, make this simple motion and watch the ball roll towards the hole.

Stay calm through the shot and make sure you finish your backswing and through swing.  Don’t jab at the ball and instead stay smooth with your putting motion.  As you keep your body and arms stable, the ball will bump right off the club and start on your intended line.  

Overall it is a fun shot that is easy to become an expert at.  When you find yourself nervous or anxious over a chip shot, try to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.  This helps eliminate the really embarrassing shot and the bump and run or chip and run is a simple go to shot that all golfers need!

Related Post: How to practice chipping at home (8 Drills)

BONUS TIP: Make sure you practice!

Make sure you practice this shot and other chip shots.  You can never practice the short game enough and it is the fastest way to lower your golf scores.  As it has been said before, it doesn’t take a great athlete to be a great short game expert.  Instead, it takes someone that will spend the time and keep it simple.

Overtime, you can add plenty of shots to your game and become the player that others envy when you are around the green!

Helpful Post: 11 Drills for Chipping

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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