Deep Greenside Rough
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of all the tough lies you can get around the greens, to me one of the hardest to escape from consistently is thick rough. And with a near record rainfall year down here in South Texas, our wiry Bermuda roughs have been brutal. As a result, everyone’s scores are higher and handicaps are rising at our club. Off the tee, missing a fairway usually means some kind of pitch back to the short grass, as few are strong enough to muscle a club through this stuff. But around the greens, it is a totally different challenge. This topic for today was courtesy of Bruce R., of Austin, TX, who wrote:
"I’m a 62 year old 13 handicap, playing a lot of golf with my retired pals here in Austin, TX. All of us have problems getting out of the soft fluffy grass in the rough and around the greens that causes the ball to sit way down. The chip shots we would normally hit just aren’t working, we end up blasting it too far or leaving it way short. Help!!!"Well, Bruce, you guys have had your share of rains as well, so I’m sure you are dealing with the same conditions we are down south of you. The shot you describe is one of the toughest, as I mentioned, but let me give you some tips on how you might approach these and see if it can’t give you some edge over your buddies. (You can share your newfound knowledge with them after you take some of their cash!)
The key with these shots is to carefully “read the lie”. You say the ball is “sitting way down”, but that might not always mean it’s all the way down to the turf. As thick as Bermuda grows, what often happens is that the ball is down in the blades of grass, but perched on the runners and stems anywhere from a quarter to half inch or more off the ground. The other thing you want to understand is how firm that ground is below the ball. It is within the rules of golf for you to use your forefinger to “probe” an area just away from the ball to get a feel for what kind of lie you really have.
If the ball is not all the way down to the dirt, you can hit this shot like a bunker shot. Lay the face open, as the grass will wrap around the hosel and force it closed through impact. Hit slightly behind the ball and let the club glance off the turf, popping the ball out. Realize that this shot will come out lower than a bunker shot usually, and with less spin, so allow for that. You can choose your lob or lower lofted wedge – even a short iron – depending on how much roll you want to get.
On those occasions where the ball has found its way all the way down to the ground, it presents a tougher shot. If the turf is not too firm, you can hit the shot described above, but with a little more force as you will also be removing some dirt. If the ground is firm you need to play the shot with the face open – because of the grass effect – but make contact right at the back edge of the ball, rather than further behind it as you would if it was a bunker shot.
In all three of these shot techniques, you want to make a slightly steeper swing path than you would in the bunkers. Set your wrists a little earlier in the backswing to create a more vertical swing arc, and be sure to lead with your left side through impact.
Find an area next to the practice tee where you can duplicate these lies and give these tips a try. And let me know how it works out. You’ll have a new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge FREE, as well, so that should help you even more!!!
Thanks for writing in and reading “The Wedge Guy”.
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
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This works! We're had "healthy" growing conditions this year as well in The Carolinas and we have had to learn the above technique. It's a great stroke saver but make sure you commit to the shot, trust it and accelerate through the shot.
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