How to Have Success from Greenside Rough

by Gord Percy, PGA of Canada Head Professional, Carleton G&YC

More wrist hinge in deeper rough
More wrist hinge in deeper rough

Early in the year we might miss a few extra greens. This means coping with and achieving success out of poor/buried lies around the edges of greens is crucial to scoring success.  The technique required to get out of thick rough is slightly different than the standard chip shot motion that most professionals teach.  This is a shot you see more often on television when professionals are hitting out of the long rough that is prevalent around their greens every week.

Like a normal chip shot you should setup the same:

1. choke down on the grip so you are close to ball

2. ball back in stance

3. hands and weight ahead

However the key difference in the shot requires that on the back swing you need to hinge upwards with your wrists on a steep angle/plane. (Photo 1) On a standard chip you will not be using your wrists (Photo 2) and out of long grass your club will travel too shallowly and catch on the way back and on the way down.  By allowing your wrists to get the club working more upwards you will not catch the grass on the way back and then on the way down you can come into the ball on a upright angle allowing you to make contact with the ball and not the turf.

Less wrist hinge on a standard chip/pitch
Less wrist hinge on a standard chip/pitch

On the follow-through like any normal chip shot you need to:

1. have ground (not just grass brushing) contact

2. keep your weight to your front foot

3. hands must stay ahead of the club head

Out of the long rough though make sure to have firm wrists so the club will not twist too much.  Take practice swings to attempt to feel how the grass is going to grab or twist your club.  Make sure to have a constant pace of swing, do not rush the hit. This shot takes practice and you will need confidence to play it on the course.