Golf Tips And Lessons

How to Chip/Pitch Out of the Rough

Yikes! Your ball is in the rough, and it is within chipping or pitching distance. What to do?

Being close to the green and in the rough is one of golf's toughest shots. It is no secret that many seasoned golfers would rather play out of the sand than out of the rough.

Well, let's see if we can find some ways to minimize these rough and tough shots.

Scenario: You are close to the green (chipping distance), but you are in tall grass.

Solution: When you need to chip out of tall grass, there are only two clubs that will do the trick: sand wedge or lob wedge. Your 6, 7, or 8 iron will not do the job this time, so leave them in the bag.

If you are a right-handed golfer, this is the best set up for this particular shot:

Start with your feet and hips a little open to the target line and narrow your stance as you address the ball.

You want about 70 percent of your weight on your left foot.

You need to choke down on the club, so grip it near the bottom of the handle.

Make sure you position your hands so they are in-line with the middle of your left thigh. (Remember to narrow your stance).

Now comes the fun part. As you perform your golf backswing, make sure your shoulders turn and that your wrists "hinge". If you do this correctly, the club head will rise steeply. As you perform your downswing, rotate your hips toward the target and allow both your arms and the club to fall with the intention of trapping the ball between the club face and the ground.

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Scenario: You are in rough and need to chip or pitch the ball low so it will roll once it lands on the green.

Solution: To accomplish a low-trajectory shot out of the rough that results in some roll, use your sand wedge. That's right, the sand wedge.

For these low shots, you want to set up as we discussed above and make sure you play the ball off your right foot (right handed golfers).

It is absolutely vital that your hands be in front at impact and that the shaft of the wedge leans forward toward the target. Improper hand position at impact with the ball is the major cause of missing this type of shot. When you finish, the club head should be low.

Scenario: You need to get out of the rough, but you want the ball to fly a bit higher with less roll.

Solution: For this shot, use your lob wedge.

At set up, position the ball more toward the center of your feet and make sure the shaft leans only a little forward. Pick a landing spot on the green that will allow for at least some roll toward the cup.

Remember to keep your hands in front of the ball as you make contact. This is crucial!

As you finish your downswing, ensure that your arms and the shaft are extending forward toward your target on the green (where the ball is to land).

You can probably tell by now that these shots require practice in order to master. The good news is these golf shots are not as difficult as they may appear once you get the basics down.

If you spend an hour practicing each of these different lies, using the proper clubs, you should be able to chip or pitch your way out of the rough whenever the need arises. And that means lower scores.

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