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How To Hit A Soft Wedge Shot Out Of Heavy Rough.

Kelley Brooke, Head Golf Professional at Bethpage GC

By Kelley Brooke
Published in NY Golf Magazine Summer 2003

Hitting a short pitch out of heavy rough is one of the hardest shots in golf. Getting the ball to stop is sometimes the least of your problems. Getting the ball out of the heavy grass and onto the green is sometimes the biggest problem. These 6 steps will make pitching easier.  

Personally, I like to use a 56 degree wedge because it is more dependable than a 60 degree wedge. However, if the pin is on the short side and the greens are fast, a 60 degree wedge is most likely the club of choice.
Place the ball in the middle of your stance. Open your shoulders just a bit to allow your shoulders, chest and arms to work through the shot without interference. Place a little more weight on your lead foot- 55-60%. Line up your nose slightly behind the ball.
This shot is not like a standard chip shot where the club is square. If you set up with a square clubface, the tall grass will grab the clubhead and you will stub it. Open the clubface 10-20 degrees.
You will swing the club more like a bunker shot vs a steep, straight back, straight though, one lever chipping stroke. The club path will be wider and will include a slight amount of rear elbow bend. The path may even be slightly outside to in.
Just like the club path, impact will resemble a bunker shot. The club will not directly strike the ball with a sharp descending blow. Instead, the face will come in more shallow, striking grass before ball. The club will remain open instead of squaring and releasing. Earlier we placed your nose slightly behind the ball. The reason for this is that the club will bottom out in alignment with your nose. If your nose is lined up with the ball, you will hit the ball. If your nose is in front of the ball, you will hit the ground in front of the ball. Since we are sliding the club into the grass behind the ball, we need your nose to be set up SLIGHTLY behind the ball.
This shot is not a wristy shot. It requires passive, dead hands to keep that club open. Therefore, the follow through will not be wristy. It will be wide like the back swing with the club finishing somewhere from your knees to chest depending on the length of the shot.