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This is an area that is largely ignored and can really pay off in much lower scores. Especially because most average players usually miss the green in regulation.

Jim Cichra said you should learn how to hit two types of chip shots — how to stop the ball and how to make the ball run.

• Here’s what to do, he said:

Set up with your weight on your front side (the left side for right handers), with a narrow, slightly open stance. Your hands should be slightly forward of the ball with the ball in the center of your stance.

Make an even swing with the distance on your backswing closely matching the distance on your follow-through, and make sure you maintain an even tempo. Your length of swing will then determine the distance of the shot. And learn two clubs at first to gauge the reaction of the ball when you use them. A sand wedge and a 7-iron is a good start.

Use the sand wedge when you need to stop the ball. Use the 7-iron when a running shot is called for. Always aim for a spot on the green where you need to land your ball to get it close. Therefore, you will need to know the reaction of the ball when it hits, whether it bites or runs.

Also, consider whether the green is hard or soft, fast or slow, uphill or downhill. All of these factors will determine where you should land your ball.