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Technique for pitching from thick rough around the green...


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#1 ChrisNH

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:42 AM

Currently struggling with a particular shot and could use some ideas on technique.

I have no trouble on most courses where the rough isn't so thick and the ball settles near or on the ground.  I use the bounce well and excel at pitching, bunker shots and flops most of the time.  They're all shots I enjoy practicing in the short game area, but my practice area has regular rough where even though it's 3" long the ball settles near the ground.

Once per week I play a course with very thick, lush rough around the greens, all the way up to the fringe, that's roughly 3 to 4" long.  The problem is that the ball doesn't settle much, but stays near the top of the rough, so there's like 1" of space under the ball.  Typically the ball settles so that it's sitting so the rough is anywhere from just above the equator of the ball up to the top of the ball or a little over.  This inch or so of air space between the bottom of the ball and the actual ground is giving me fits.  Just can't consistently control the ball.  It's further complicated by the fact that it's slopey around the greens so lies aren't often flat.

I carry 4 wedges, 50* with 10* bounce, 54* with 8* bounce, 58* with 14* bounce and 62* with 6* bounce.

So how do you successfully play this shot with this lie?  Which club and what technique?

   --Say you're 3 or 4 paces off the green and have 30' of green to work with.

   --How about if you're 2 paces off the green and have 12' of green to work with?

   --How about if you're 6 paces off the green and have 8' of green to work with?


I've been using the 58* because it has the most bounce, and opening it up to get even more, but I still catch it on the top few grooves and it comes out short and soft.  I've tried hovering the club and not hitting the ground with square and open club faces and I often catch it thin and it goes long.  I've thought about playing an explosion like a bunker shot, but that big of a swing on short shots in lush, thick rough during competition is something I'd like to avoid if possible, especially considering I have no place to practice it with that type of grass/lie.

Any ideas?

Edited by ChrisNH, 11 July 2018 - 05:54 AM.

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#2 getitdaily

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:53 AM

I'd use that 58. You want to play it like a bunker shot. Don't worry about ball contact, just act like it's a bunker shot. It doesn't have to be an explosion type shot, just a normal open face, brush the grass into the ball shot. Focus on where you want the ball to land and then hit it there.

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#3 NEhomer

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:54 AM

Play the ball well back of your rear foot and reach back with the 62. Chop down onto the ball. You can strike surprisingly hard without the ball going very far. It makes full contact down through the ball nearly automatic.

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#4 A.Princey

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:26 AM

Forward shaft lean with a wedge, and a short/deliberate putting motion with the ball back some, will pop out and run. I'm still advocating normal contact here, not a deliberate thin. The ball is on a perch, so keep the club head near the top of the rough as well(don't sole the club deep into the rough, just enough the get under the ball)and the parallel motion like putting will ensure good contact.

Basically get under the ball enough to contact the sweet spot but keep the AoA as close to 0 as possible by locking the wrists and keeping the wrists and arms still. A very deliberate putting motion with the ball back of center is the best swing thought for me.

Edited by A.Princey, 11 July 2018 - 06:40 AM.

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#5 Moo

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:28 AM

Do you normally sweep your chips like a Steve Sticker or do you use some wrist load and release?

I've had similar problems and I found that using a more loaded stroke, even on the shorter and more delicate shots, has produced better results from the thicker rough.  I normally sweep all my close chips and pitches with as little wrist as possible and expect to get X amount of run (zero spin from the rough of all length and type), but when I encounter the really thick stuff that can be spongy and hold the ball up, using a swing with more wrist load and release has helped.  I think of these shots as completely different from all the normal pitches and chips, as I'm expecting the bounce to be a non-factor in the ball flight.  I'm catching the ball before the club bottoms by positioning the ball just behind center stance The ball is gone before the bounce has any influence on the turf.

Distance control is much more difficult, but at least with this method I can choose the best loft and get it cleanly up and running and on the green.  It is not the best solution when you are short-sided and don't have a lot of green to work with.

I tend to hit all of these with the 56 or the 62 and I do not open the club more than a couple of degrees.  I open it just enough so I can keep the clubface from getting twisted by the longer grass.

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#6 596

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:32 AM

I've had instructors suggest that I use a less lofted club to hit the fluffy lie pitch.  The ball is going to come out higher then normal and off the top grooves.  Instead of the higher loft, use a pitching wedge.  The ball will come out lower so you can control the distance even though it may hit near the top of the grooves.

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#7 ChrisNH

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:39 AM

View PostMoo, on 11 July 2018 - 06:28 AM, said:

Do you normally sweep your chips like a Steve Sticker or do you use some wrist load and release?
Depends on the shot I'm trying to play.  My standard chip/pitch from fairway type fringe is pretty dead wristed putting type stroke and just change clubs depending on the runout I want. If hitting one high with no run out I use the bounce and more wrist load and release.

Edited by ChrisNH, 11 July 2018 - 06:41 AM.

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#8 ezpz

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:46 AM

I'd use the 58, consider lowering the handle but keep my normal "use the bounce" style chiping technique i.e no chopping down on it, thats a recipe for hitting it high in the face and getting completely random distances. If the rough is really thick and little green to work with I'd also open the face. With all these shots I'd lower my expectations when it comes to getting it close.

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#9 Moo

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:47 AM

View PostChrisNH, on 11 July 2018 - 06:39 AM, said:

View PostMoo, on 11 July 2018 - 06:28 AM, said:

Do you normally sweep your chips like a Steve Sticker or do you use some wrist load and release?
Depends on the shot I'm trying to play.  My standard chip/pitch from fairway type fringe is pretty dead wristed putting type stroke and just change clubs depending on the runout I want. If hitting one high with no run out I use the bounce and more wrist load and release.

I am the same.  Your mileage may vary, but using a, "hinge and hold" type stroke may work for you in this situation. The way I do it (which may not be correct) from the fluffy rough does not produce much spin.

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#10 bladehunter

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:15 AM

Iíd use less loft.  Likely the 50 opened up. Play it middle of my stance and swing up.  Lob wedge to me goes nowhere in that lie unless you swing full tilt.  And why would you do that if you donít need to.  Bounce means zero with a teed up lie like that.   You just have to pick it out of there. Ball back and face square if you want to hit down and squirt it low.  Get a lot of lies like that in the Bermuda here.  You have to Choke up a smidge too.  No real shortcut.

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#11 dlygrisse

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:21 AM

Middle of stance
Square face
Choke down a bit “measure up” to the ball.
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#12 David C

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:00 AM

Hit the rough not the ball. Pick the club up going back and come in steeper. Take some practice swings in similar rough to get the feel for the energy required. I have very soft feeling hands and arms on this shot, Iím just trying to recreate the feel of the amount of energy required to pop it out.

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#13 DaveGoodrich

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:57 AM

Low point control is the issue here.  My intent when the ball is sitting up in the rough is to keep a very stable lower body and make a shallow swing, keeping the club head moving parallel to the ground as long as possible at the bottom of the stroke.  Using a lower lofted club makes the face taller, giving you more margin of error on your low point, and allows you to swing slower, making clean contact easier.
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#14 iteachgolf

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:57 AM



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#15 jamie

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:15 PM

I open the clubface and lower my hands and just try and thump the back of the heal into the ground and don't really have a follow thru...works well for me.

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#16 DaveGoodrich

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:16 PM

You guys understand the OP is talking about balls sitting UP in the rough, right?  I don't understand some of the posts suggesting steep swings in this situation.
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#17 aussieb

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:22 PM

If you have a wedge with a wider sole and less loft, try keeping your hinge in a delofted turn through the shot.  You allow more area of the face to contact the ball and the sole behaves much like a wood to keep it from burying as it glides over the grass.
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#18 Miggaletoe

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:46 PM

If you watch Dan's video it shows how to adjust to the lie. Its basically just adjusting how low your hands are with that technique.

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#19 baudi

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 03:31 AM

Stuart Smith has a nice technique. sort of specialty shot.
Drag the club in the back swing and flail in the downswing.
I added this type to my game a couple of months ago and it has saved me many times now.

Edited by baudi, 12 July 2018 - 11:49 AM.


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#20 ChrisNH

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:42 AM

Thanks for all the replies.  I'll find a place to hit some of these utilizing the various suggestions and see what I can make work. :)

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#21 Cwing

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 06:24 AM

View Postiteachgolf, on 11 July 2018 - 11:57 AM, said:



I’ll need to re-watch this before my Myrtle trip.
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#22 A.Princey

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:53 AM

The above is pretty handsy and prone to error unless you're quite proficient already. The lie the OP references is a perched one, atop the grass so it shouldn't require any real fancy club manipulation or motion. The video I am sharing is sort of an exaggerated version of what I posted in text form. Pelz uses an 8 iron, but I prefer to use a PW and don't play the ball quite as far back. I use the same motion with very little wrist hinge(still forward press though), it completely simplifies the shot and makes timing the bottom of the arc a non-issue. Position the sole of the club only slightly lower than the ball and brush the grass with a deliberate motion and you're good.

His use of the English language leaves something to be desired, but the fundamentals are solid.

https://youtu.be/DF5G24FFAP0

Edited by A.Princey, 12 July 2018 - 08:08 AM.

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#23 jcjohns24

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 10:12 AM

View Postiteachgolf, on 11 July 2018 - 11:57 AM, said:



I've used iteach's short game methods for years, and it's super effective for the different lies.

Regarding the ball sitting up, a square face, ball position forward and high hands will give you much more room for error. If you want to lower trajectory, just change clubs.

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#24 Albatross85

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 12:41 PM

I came here to post a link to Iteach's vid but i see its already here. Thats how i do it.
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#25 iteachgolf

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 01:45 PM

View PostA.Princey, on 12 July 2018 - 07:53 AM, said:

The above is pretty handsy and prone to error unless you're quite proficient already. The lie the OP references is a perched one, atop the grass so it shouldn't require any real fancy club manipulation or motion. The video I am sharing is sort of an exaggerated version of what I posted in text form. Pelz uses an 8 iron, but I prefer to use a PW and don't play the ball quite as far back. I use the same motion with very little wrist hinge(still forward press though), it completely simplifies the shot and makes timing the bottom of the arc a non-issue. Position the sole of the club only slightly lower than the ball and brush the grass with a deliberate motion and you're good.

His use of the English language leaves something to be desired, but the fundamentals are solid.

https://youtu.be/DF5G24FFAP0

Thereís nothing handsy about it


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#26 ChrisNH

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 02:31 PM

I don't see that pelz method working in my situation as the motion seems nowhere near enough force to move the ball 4 or 5 yards in the air, and if you did I'd think the runout would be way too far.

I found this photo online that most closely resembles what I'm talking about.  The grass is a bit different, with my grass being a bit more lush, with a bit heftier, thicker, singular strands, like kentucky bluegrass or something, but it's close.  This is about as low as ball usually sits.  Usually a tad higher, but never right on top.  Grass is 3 or 4 inches or so, so there's at least 1 or 2"+ of air/grass between the bottom of the ball and the ground.  The big problem is that you're not sure exactly how much air is under there as if you test it too close the ball could move.

If it would settle near the ground I'd beat on it like a bunker shot with plenty of confidence, but it doesn't darn it all...  I've tried on these type of lies and it's possible to go completely under the ball while engaging the bounce with the ground and the ball not going anywhere.  You can even barely catch the top grooves while never getting low enough for the bounce to even touch the ground.


Posted Image

Edited by ChrisNH, 12 July 2018 - 02:41 PM.

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#27 Hstead

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 03:01 PM

View Postjcjohns24, on 12 July 2018 - 10:12 AM, said:


I've used iteach's short game methods for years, and it's super effective for the different lies.

Regarding the ball sitting up, a square face, ball position forward and high hands will give you much more room for error. If you want to lower trajectory, just change clubs.
Same.  Adjust the handle height to the lie.  Ball lie buried, lower handle.  Ball on top of grass, raise handle high hands.  It cannot get more simple.  Use pretty much the same motion, just adjust handle with the lie.
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#28 Cwing

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 06:51 PM

View PostA.Princey, on 12 July 2018 - 07:53 AM, said:

The above is pretty handsy and prone to error unless you're quite proficient already. The lie the OP references is a perched one, atop the grass so it shouldn't require any real fancy club manipulation or motion. The video I am sharing is sort of an exaggerated version of what I posted in text form. Pelz uses an 8 iron, but I prefer to use a PW and don't play the ball quite as far back. I use the same motion with very little wrist hinge(still forward press though), it completely simplifies the shot and makes timing the bottom of the arc a non-issue. Position the sole of the club only slightly lower than the ball and brush the grass with a deliberate motion and you're good.

His use of the English language leaves something to be desired, but the fundamentals are solid.

https://youtu.be/DF5G24FFAP0

The only issue I see here is he has a perfect lie. Around these parts, I might get a lie like that every one in ten chips.
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#29 A.Princey

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 06:55 PM

Yeah, I just figured it would help with the ball sitting up, no need to get deep into the grass with a wristy move if the ball is sitting very well. Maybe I was confused by the OP lie situation.
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