You've seen professional golfers do it. They make it look easy. Using a 7 iron to chip the ball close to (or into) the hole when you're just a few feet off the green. It may surprise you that this is a highly effective, stoke saving shot that is easier to execute that you think. It's also the safest way to get the ball close to the hole and significantly reduces the risk of accidentally hitting the ball too hard and into the sand trap or water on the other side of the green. Sometimes referred to as a 'bump and run", this is by far the best way to get the ball close to the hole for the majority of amateur golfers!
The 7 iron chip shot is so effective due to its sheer simplicity. By making the shot simple we can drastically lower the margin of error as compared to the classic ship shot. When the ball is in a position just off the green surface take your seven iron out of the bag and follow these simple instructions.
Get into a setup position exactly the same as you would during a full swing shot.
Choke down about two or three inches on the club.
Move slightly closer to the ball to accommodate the choke.
Make a stoke similar to a putting stroke only slightly harder.
When first bringing this shot into your repertoire it is a good idea to spend a while practicing it first. The main reason this shot needs practice is to get the feel of the shot and to familiarize one self with the distance control needed with different sized swings.
Because the seven iron has much more loft than the putter it will be necessary to make a putting stroke which is slightly larger than one used with a putter, for a putt of the same length. This is a result of some of the energy of the stroke being used to hit the ball up (due to the loft of the club) rather than in causing 100% of the energy directed to forward movement as is the case with a putt on the greens surface.
Keep in mind that this shot can only be used when a specific situation arises. Specifically, the carry distance of the shot (or the distance it needs to travel in the air) is short enough to land the ball on the green (or the fringe) and still allow for the ball to come to a stop near the hole. Remember the ball will roll according to the undulations of the green so pick your target carefully (remember your target is where you want the ball to land NOT the hole itself).