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"The Short Way to Lower Scoring" by Paul Runyan


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Just going to comment on this one quickly.

The popular modern wrists firm chipping strategy was invented by this guy. His short game school in California was the first of its kind, and attracted tour pros from around the world. Pro's on tour today learned from him (he died a few years ago, unfortunately).

Great book if you are confused about the short game.
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  • 1 year later...
I have three copies of this book, all of which are signed by Runyan in beautiful Palmer Method handwriting.

I read this book every year and get something new out of it every time. He doesn't teach you how to hit a lot of short game shots. He just spends a lot of time describing the basic techniques of the short game so you can get the bread and butter short shots down pat. In the process, he leaves you with the ability to apply the basics reliably to the unconventional shots that do arise. One could make the argument that he had the best short game of all time, and this is how he did it. His chapters on putting are equally good.

Being a fan of good writing, I love to read this book for that fact that every word counts--not one word is there that doesn't need to be.

One of these days I'll just memorize it.
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  • 4 years later...

I just got his instructional DVDs and am working with the method.

I have the grip and setup okay. Making decent contact with fair accuracy from fringe & short rough. Distance control is a bit inconsistent, but have holed a few in practice.

Questions:

His description of taking the wrists out of the shot doesn't seem to agree with what I see on the screen when he hits a shot. There definitely seems to be a bit of a 'pop' with the R hand (more noticeable on longer carries).

This jibes with my experience in practice in that a completely 'dead hands' shot tends to have very low trajectory with all clubs regardless of loft which seems to negate his carry / roll ratios. His ball flight on the videos is also much higher than when I hit a 'dead hands' shot of the same carry distance, but when I add a little R hand 'pop' I get similar trajectory.

Is this a 'real vs. feel' thing or was he only talking about eliminating pronation / supination and upc0ck (radial deviation) / downc0ck (ulnar deviation) movements, not palmar flexion?

Also the video doesn't have his whole ball position theory laid out. Middle of the body to back foot for 3i - LW? Grip down any as clubs get longer? For his instructions or for those who use it effectively, what adjustment would you make in thicker rough - ball forward of normal position to add loft / height to compensate for less spin?

Thanks for any insights you can provide.

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Actually, watching the video more closely I have been practicing the modern variation of his technique with more upright plane and heel of club off the ground with ball addressed toward the toe of the club.

Down the line shots in the video clearly show he soles the club flat and the ball is in the middle of his clubface. I will have to see if that works any better for me.

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Any info on my questions above Erik or is this a dead thread?


I've never read it.

We have threads for books here in the Reading Room so that anyone can share their thoughts on the book. To stop self-promotion, only @mvmac and I can start threads here, so that's why it appears as though I've started every conversation: people PM me and ask me to add a book to this forum so they can discuss it. I'm guessing @kc8kir requested it back in 2008.

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

It has been a very long time since I was on this forum. Still playing golf here... though struggling with a hook and shooting mid to high 80s. All that said... I still use the method Paul Runyan outlines in his book as my primary chipping method. Jim Furyk uses this method as well, and I find it to be very reliable. I will add or subtract a club depending on green speed for the day. Trajectory is played with using shaft angle and ball position. The firm wrists he advises takes some practice and is very much a dead feel through the ball... but I find it produces consistent spin conditions so I can judge the roll out or check much more reliably out on the course.

Helped my game a lot ... but then again committing to a technique and practicing it will do that.

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It has been a very long time since I was on this forum. Still playing golf here... though struggling with a hook and shooting mid to high 80s. All that said... I still use the method Paul Runyan outlines in his book as my primary chipping method. Jim Furyk uses this method as well, and I find it to be very reliable. I will add or subtract a club depending on green speed for the day. Trajectory is played with using shaft angle and ball position. The firm wrists he advises takes some practice and is very much a dead feel through the ball... but I find it produces consistent spin conditions so I can judge the roll out or check much more reliably out on the course.

Helped my game a lot ... but then again committing to a technique and practicing it will do that.

Do you chip with the heel of the club off the ground or soled flat? If you lift the heel, do you use Runyan technique in deep rough? If so what adjustments do you make relative to a clean lie on the fringe?

So far I find it superior to 'standard chip' if the lie isn't too nasty since it is easier to aim on target line plus good distance control with rule of 12 / 13

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It has been a very long time since I was on this forum. Still playing golf here... though struggling with a hook and shooting mid to high 80s. All that said... I still use the method Paul Runyan outlines in his book as my primary chipping method. Jim Furyk uses this method as well, and I find it to be very reliable. I will add or subtract a club depending on green speed for the day. Trajectory is played with using shaft angle and ball position. The firm wrists he advises takes some practice and is very much a dead feel through the ball... but I find it produces consistent spin conditions so I can judge the roll out or check much more reliably out on the course.

Helped my game a lot ... but then again committing to a technique and practicing it will do that.

I watched his actual technique from his DVD of the same name and he actually soles his clubs flat when chipping (head is positioned halfway between ball and his feet). The more upright swing standing closer with heel of club off ground I think is attributable to Dave Stockton's putting with loft variation on Runyan.

I am curious if the Stockton method is better in deeper rough? I find that the Runyan technique goes to rule of 13, 14, or 15 out of deep rough since the typical resulting low trajectory shot will spin much less and have little bite due to the grass juice effect.

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I have used Runyan's method for the past 20+ years. I even use it for shorter pitch shots. When I made the switch to his method it immediately allowed me to score 5-7 strokes lower per round.

After my success with his short game teachings, is when I started paying more attention to the other old school swing gurus. :drool:

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I have used Runyan's method for the past 20+ years. I even use it for shorter pitch shots. When I made the switch to his method it immediately allowed me to score 5-7 strokes lower per round.

After my success with his short game teachings, is when I started paying more attention to the other old school swing gurus.

I saw a video of him speaking about his method at a PGA conference. His soft sell and the reasons why he developed it & why it works convinced me. I tried it a few times and my combination of line & distance control was much better than with my more practiced standard setup.

What I don't have is feel descriptions from him. What grip pressure works best - light or firm. What mental picture did he have of the swing shape. How did he adjust setup or swing for a ball in chipping distance but sitting down in rough?

I find I am gripping tight with my left hand & I tend to blade the ball too frequently when hitting a longer shot. It works better for me on real grass, but it's only been a few weeks of off & on experimenting.

Can you remember back to any key insights you had as you got comfortable with this method?

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Grip pressure for me with this method is very firm. You are hitting the ball off the toe of the club, so it will want to twist... but that dead hit gives the ball a different spin condition hitting the green (in my experience). It takes getting used to... but I find it very effective. To the prior post, I do raise the club on the toe as he illustrates in the book. This really helps in the rough, even when you play the club back. When playing out of deep rough, the ball is moved back and the hands forward. The club is still off the toe and I account for the decreased loft in how much roll out I plan. I try not to use too many numbers. I just figure 1/3, 1/2, 1/4... and that's about as much math as I want to do on the course to figure out how much to land the ball. Hence I use this technique most often with PW and 8iron. Seems to help keep the variation down and avoid overthinking it. I'll pull a 6 iron if i really need some long roll out, but thankfully that isn't too often.

I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

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Grip pressure for me with this method is very firm. You are hitting the ball off the toe of the club, so it will want to twist... but that dead hit gives the ball a different spin condition hitting the green (in my experience). It takes getting used to... but I find it very effective. To the prior post, I do raise the club on the toe as he illustrates in the book. This really helps in the rough, even when you play the club back. When playing out of deep rough, the ball is moved back and the hands forward. The club is still off the toe and I account for the decreased loft in how much roll out I plan. I try not to use too many numbers. I just figure 1/3, 1/2, 1/4... and that's about as much math as I want to do on the course to figure out how much to land the ball. Hence I use this technique most often with PW and 8iron. Seems to help keep the variation down and avoid overthinking it. I'll pull a 6 iron if i really need some long roll out, but thankfully that isn't too often.

I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

He raises the toe in the book?!? Is it only slightly or significantly? I would swear he soles the club flat on the DVD when chipping from the fringe.

How close does he say to stand in the book? DVD has his head position about midway between the ball and his toes so he is not right on top of the ball.

I'll look again at the DVD and will probably have to buy the book now. Know anyone with a used copy they want to sell?

Do you feel any naturally occuring 'pop' with the R arm / hand on longer strokes or do you feel like they completely locked? I found I get almost no stop with short irons due to too low trajectory when I get further from the fringe - unless I add a little 'pop' / 'hit' at the bottom through the ball.

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To the prior post, I do raise the club on the toe as he illustrates in the book. This really helps in the rough, even when you play the club back. When playing out of deep rough, the ball is moved back and the hands forward.

Good tip, thanks. I rechecked the video (pics below) and I was fooled by the amount of sole radius on his clubs. The heel appears slightly elevated. His head position is definitely between the ball and his feet, so he isn't over the line like with a putt.

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He raises the toe in the book?!? Is it only slightly or significantly? I would swear he soles the club flat on the DVD when chipping from the fringe.

How close does he say to stand in the book? DVD has his head position about midway between the ball and his toes so he is not right on top of the ball.

I'll look again at the DVD and will probably have to buy the book now. Know anyone with a used copy they want to sell?

Do you feel any naturally occuring 'pop' with the R arm / hand on longer strokes or do you feel like they completely locked? I found I get almost no stop with short irons due to too low trajectory when I get further from the fringe - unless I add a little 'pop' / 'hit' at the bottom through the ball.


On the toe.... sorry. I was thinking of hitting the ball slightly off the toe of the club. I keep the heel from dragging in the grass!

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On the toe.... sorry. I was thinking of hitting the ball slightly off the toe of the club. I keep the heel from dragging in the grass!

I got what you meant. I had just thought Runyan soled it perfectly flat, but the pictures above do show a bit of heel elevation. In the picture he is addressing the ball just about in the center of the face, though. I think the more towards the toe is the more upright Stockton variation. That might be help from the rough or on faster greens. I'll have to experiment with it. Thanks again for the info.

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When playing out of deep rough, the ball is moved back and the hands forward. The club is still off the toe and I account for the decreased loft in how much roll out I plan.

I find when I put the ball further back in rough that the ball really squirts on me. I've tried moving it up a bit and the amount of runout is closer to what I would expect from shorter grass. It substitutes a little bit of loft & landing angle for spin / bite that the rough negates. Knowing the technique do you see any issues with that variation? How much more runout do you get when you put the ball further back in the rough? Do you change anything else?

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