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Any tips for playing from deep greenside rough?

Mark A

Hi fellow TTers,

My short game is pretty solid but I still need help with those shots around the green from deep rough.

I am fortunate enough to be a member at The Heritage Golf & Country Club in Melbourne, Australia.

We have 36 holes to choose from, 18 of which make up the St John course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, one of only two Nicklaus courses in Australia. The St John course is an amazing course, but I have difficulty around the greens because the rough is unusual for courses here. The rough is deep and the ball often sinks right down.

I just can't seem to get a handle on how to get up and down from this rough and find myself favouring the other course, Henley, which is more traditionally Aussie, with well mown green surrounds that allow more options to get up and down.

It's a real shame that I seem to avoid St John and hopefully you guys might have some tips to help me escape the deep stuff. 

R.C, maybe you could show us some drills on the Contact Show?



13 Replies

  1. Quintin H

    You need to get the ball up and out of the grass as fast as possible, you need loft.

    The reason is if the ball is moving vertically the grass provides very little resistance to the balls movement, if the ball is traveling horizontally thru the grass the grass provides great resistance to the balls movement.

    For the same reason you need to swing the club steep, plus this will give you the least amount of grass on the clubface.

    It's ok, and actually even desired, to hit the ground just slightly before the ball.

    Sound like any shot you've done before?

  2. DPavs

    Pretty much what has been said. The only thing I would add is practice the shot a lot until you are comfortable with it. Its going to take more a swing than you think at first and I a might as well add... be brave. The common mistake I think on this one is to not follow through and quit half way through the swing of finish choppy which is usually a result of worrying about over hitting it, which seldom actually happens!
  3. Brent W

    I would try opening the face which would allow the club to slide through the rough. Hit it like a bunker shot where you hit just behind the ball. And one thing to try is to take a long enough back swing so the momentum of the club coming down is enough to propel the ball the distance you want. In other words don't take a short swing and try to rush or hurry your downswing to get the ball out. And don't decelerate, Follow through.

  4. Tony C

    I would approach this shot exactly as if I were playing out of a bunker.
  5. Steven B

    Toe first,  blade wide open, ball comes out high but runs. If you want the ball to stick, drop your club vertical with the target, straight down on the ball lightly (behind your rear foot). 

  6. Skylar T

    As may have said, play it like a bunker shot.  Open the face and make sure to accelerate through the shot.  Your problem is that you are decelerating causing inconsistency in contact.  Try making long lazy swings.

  7. Pete D

    Here are a couple of shots to try:

    1. I was volunteering on the driving range at a Canadian Open many years ago, along with many other "A" players from the club. It was the best place to watch the pros up close. A few of us were up close and personal with Rocco as he was practicing in and around a bunker. He was very engaging and showed us a shot he learned from his father. He almost stepped on the ball to get it deep in the deep greenside rough. The way he described it, he leads with the hosel, nearly trying to shank it on purpose. It's amazing to see the ball just pop up and out!

    2. My other option is more of a "chunk-and-run" shot. When the greenside rough is particularly deep, as someone else mentioned, it's critical not to decelerate or get the club stuck in the deep rough, so what I do to ensure the club never stops during the shot is turn my whole body through the chip, almost in slow-motion, to accentuate the follow-through. I hope I've explained that clearly enough.

    Good luck mate! :)

  8. Vincent M

    I play out of rough in my approach shots because I don't play on expensive courses and my swing isn't good enough to keep the ball in the fairway. Not that my course even HAVE real fairways....

    I've seen the advice about playing shots from the HIGH or THICK rough like a sand shot but most of use can't hit a sand shot!

    So I try a practice swing away from the ball to get a feel how thick the rough is. It it it really thick I just try a steep, short, hard swing that almost sticks in the ground in front of the ball. It feels like a "chop shot" that is used to get out of wet sand.

    If the rough is high enough to cover only part of the ball then I just take my normal pitch or chip shot and let the ball run as it may.

    I just want to get on the green.

  9. Lou G

    Once you learn a bunker shot, they aren't so bad and almost more predictable.

    Biggest mistake a lot of golfers do is decelerate.  One has to hit through the ball no matter what shot. 

    The other mistake is helping the ball up.

    Also in thick rough, you have to take more of a shot because the grass is a distance killer. 

  10. Carl T

    Something that has not been mentioned which is very critical is determining how the ball sits in the thick grass. Let's look at three possibilities. Ball sitting up on thick grass. In this case you can't play this shot like a bunker shot. You will slide the club right under neath the ball and it won't go anywhere ! You need to to keep the weight of both feet pretty even or even a little more weight on back foot to shallow out club face with the club face square or just slightly open. First move is to hinge up and then hold this angle and keep club head moving ahead of hands. Club face should be looking up at the sky at finish. Ball half way down in thick grass. Weight forward on front foot, club face slightly open and use the hinge and hold already described. Ball sitting down where you can only see the top of it from above. Weight forward on front foot, face wide open and use the hinge and hold and hit just behind the ball and keep club accelerating to the finish. As previously mentioned all of these shots work with a lazy back swing with a continued acceleration of the club after impact. When you open up the club face you have to do two things. First after you have opened up the club face you have to re-grip the club in your normal fashion or other wise the club face will just come back to square at impact. Second, you have to open up your stance to accommodate the open club face or you will shank it. Open up your stance until the club face is looking at your target. Your feet will be at about a 45 degree angle to the left of your target. You have to practice this shot until you feel confident. Gripping a club with the face wide open will feel real awkward at first but after you have hit a few balls it will start to feel normal.

  11. Geoffrey B

    Hit down on the ball with your 60 degree wedge

  12. Joe C

    Hi Mark,

     I play my golf in England and often find myself playing a course where there is a lot of thick rough. I have a very solid short game making up and downs from pretty much anywhere inside 70-80 yards. The way i play this particular shot is normally a classic bunker technique, the splash. There is always a different technique called the linear bunker technique which works on pretty much any area of the short game. This technique is used by several tour pros. It consists of opening the left foot to about 60, 70 degrees further left than original position and keeping the club face square but if it feels more comfortable you can open it slightly. The linear technique is played mainly with the right hand being in control instead of the left. if you draw a line in a bunker and practice hitting it, holding the club only in your right hand. if you practice this and feel comfortable using it as a simple greenside bunker shot attempt it with the deep rough.

    good luck and i hope this helps, kind regards Joe Carnell  

  13. Steven B

    I use a 60 but a 54 or 52 will work just as well. Place ball at the back of your left foot with, open stance with feet together, *** wrists straight up, drop the club straight down on the ball with you face closed towards the target.

    Practice a bit before hand to get a feel for the shot. The chip is very delicate but very effective if you can dial it in. There will be spin if hit correctly. 

    Have fun and be creative! 

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