How And When To Hit A Bump And Run In Golf

Golf is a game of strategy. The best players are not just those who can hit the most impressively powerful or delicate and precise swings, but those who know how and when to play a particular type of shot.

It’s all about keeping the numbers low. If you want to break 100, 90, 80, or become a scratch golfer, you need to know about shots like the bump and run.

You may have heard of the chip and run before, or believed that this kind of shot is reserved for the pitch and putt, but chances are you might not know just how useful and important this shot can be.

You might also think that this shot is only really for beginners or high handicappers, but some of the best of the best gladly rely on this shot for a number of situations, like Rory Mcilroy for example.

If that hasn’t convinced you, keep reading and learn how and when to use the bump and run so save your scorecard!

Lets get started!

A golfer prepares to hit a bump and run

When to hit a bump and run

If you’re a golfer who panics when you get close to the apron and find yourself flustering at the thought of hitting a pitch or a chip, the bump and run is for you.

A lot of golfers, especially beginners, struggle with getting enough loft in their shots.

Hitting flop shots or difficult sand bunker or chip shots can be tough if you’re not totally comfortable with your clubs yet. That kind of confidence can only come with practice.

If, however, you have a game coming up this weekend and not enough time to practice 1000 hours, it might be time to learn the bump and run.

While the bump and run is an important shot for all golfers to keep in their pocket, it’s especially useful for those who struggle with getting enough loft on the ball.

You want to use a bump and run when you’re around 20-40 yards away from the flag, assuming you’re still outside of the green.

It’s also most useful on greens with a minimal amount of break. If you’re playing on a green with lumps and bumps all over the place, the bump and run can still be used, but you might find yourself in need of a recovery shot if you’re unlucky.

So now you know when to play a bump and run, lets get into how to do it!

A golfer hits a short iron shot

How to hit a Bump and Run


Before you attempt to hit a bump and run, you should make sure that you’re using the right clubs to do so.

There is some debate about which clubs are best to use for this shot, with some golfers using a 7 or 8-iron, and some suggesting that the pitching wedge is more accurate.

While we would recommend a lower loft club like an 8-iron, or even a 9, there’s nothing stopping you from using a pitching wedge or ant club that has a higher loft.

That being said, you’re not trying to hit the ball up with the bump and run. You want some lift on the ball, but you want the ball to run along the green rather than land and stop in its tracks.

However, what’s more important than the club you use to hit the ball is how you do it.

Stand closer to the ball

For many shots where precision and power maintenance are the key focus, you will be advised to stand closer to the ball. This is also true for the bump and run.

Standing closer to the ball allows you to control your swing more accurately and, most importantly for the bump and run, will help you take out some of the power of a normal swing.

Remember, you should only really be using this shot if you’re around 20-40 yards away from the flag.

To make sure you’re in the right position as you setup in front of the ball, approach you set up as you normally would.

Here’s how its done:

  • Set up your golf stance as normal as if you were about to make a much more powerful shot.
  • Once you are in position, raise your hands up to just under chest height, bring the club shaft up with you but keeping the head of the club on the ground and behind the ball.
  • Once you are in this position, step forwards until the position feels more natural.
A golfer sets up at the ball

Keep the ball in the center of your stance

Some shots, like teeing off with your driver or playing out of a sand bunker, might require you stand with the ball toward the front of your stance.

With the bump and run, we’re looking for control, so set up with the ball in the center of your stance.

With the ball in the center of your stance, you should also angle your club shaft slightly forwards, towards your target.

It’s quite a subtle lean forward, not nearly as much as a chip shot, but enough to get the ball off the ground.

This will help with consistency and delicacy in your bump and runs.

Weight distribution

When you are in position for your bump and run, standing closer to the ball with a slight shaft lean and the ball in the center of your stance, you can now shift your weight distribution slightly to the front.

This will again help with the delicacy of this shot.

This is quite a subtle shot, so the distribution of your weight should also be subtle. You don’t want to end up stood on one leg and putting yourself off balance.

You should aim for around a 60/40 split of weight distribution through your legs, with your front leg taking the majority of the weight.

This will help you hit the ball with the center of your club face and make sure that the ball runs when it lands. You want to make sure that there is no backspin on the ball that could hinder the run of the ball on the green.

A golfer hits a short iron shot.

A Shorter Backswing

While some golfers might choose to have a shorter backswing as it helps them control their swing, or if they find themselves facing a number of common mistakes like topping the ball or hitting thin shots, a shorter backswing should also be employed for a bump and run.

A shorter backswing can help you control the power of your shot far more accurately and can eradicate the likelihood of shanks if you’re lucky.

If you’re using a shorter backswing, you must also use a shorter takeaway.

If you keep your full swing follow-through sequence, you’re likely to accelerate too much in your downswing, which can change the angle of contact between your club face and the golf ball.

It can help to think of your shot like a clock face. Your club position behind the golf ball is 12, and if you were to hold your arms out straight on either side, they would be at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

For a bump and run, you want your backswing to stop before it reaches 3 o’clock, and your takeaway to stop before it reaches 9 o’clock.

This will help you control the power in your shot and keep your bump and runs consistent.

A golfer sets up on a misty golf course.

It’s all in the pivot

While all great shots come from the full rotation and uncoiling of your swing, the bump and run is quite different.

The bump and run is more like a long putt than a long iron shot.

This means that you don’t want any lag in your swing, and you don’t want to set your wrists in the swing.

That means that this swing is all in the pivot. As your arms move back through the movement of your shoulders in the backswing, your chest should follow.

Similarly, with your takeaway, your swing should end with your chest in a more open position, facing more toward your target.

This will help you keep the clubface angle consistent throughout your swing. You want your arms to feel connected to your torso throughout the swing. If you become disconnected, you risk hitting a poor shot that can leave you in a much more difficult position.

This movement can also be very useful when hitting shorter shots with your pitching wedge, or in many different short-game scenarios.

So that’s our guide on how and when to hit a bump and run!

This shot can get you out of a lot of tough situations, but is also a great shot to rely on when you find yourself unsure of what to play next.

While it might take some practicing to get right, it’s also one of the easier shots you can learn.

However, if you’re the kind of golfer who hits too far or too powerfully consistently, practicing this shot can also be a great way to learn how to control your swing power more consistently.

Learn how to hit more shots around the green with our guide to playing out of the sand bunker!

Photo of author
Adam is a writer and lifelong golfer who probably spends more time talking about golf than he does playing it nowadays!

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