Explode Your Pitch Shots
I get a lot of golf students asking me how to hit the pitch shot out of rough and too often they make this shot way more difficult than it is. The basic understanding of pitching the ball from the rough is to play this shot similar to a bunker shot. There are several rules to follow when pitching the ball from the rough, just as there are rules to follow for great bunker shots.
Hitting Your Pitch Shots Out of the Rough
The first key to hitting great pitch shots from rough are understanding what type of shot you’re trying to hit.
The first key to hitting great pitch shots from rough are understanding what type of shot you’re trying to hit.Is the pin cut close to the edge of the green requiring you to use height to stop the ball or do you have plenty of green to work with? Lets first discuss the shot with plenty of green. To hit this shot you must understand that the key to playing from the rough is acceleration. Too often players take a big swing and then decelerate on the downswing which results in either a chunk shot or a shot that the rough grabs the hosel and closes the club, causing the ball to shoot long and left of the flag. To play this shot we need to set up with the ball in the back of our stance.
Our golf stance width will be relatively narrow, (depending on the length of the shot), and will require us to hinge the club very quickly on the backswing. This allows us to get maximum downward angle on the ball to reduce as much friction of the grass between the clubface and the ball. We will however hit slightly behind the ball to allow the club to get down to the ball and explode the ball out of the thick rough similar to a bunker shot. We must hold the club firmly with our fingers in order to keep the club from closing, but always remember to accelerate through the ball and do not allow your wrists to flip over. We want to accelerate and hold the face square. Remember the phrase hinge and hold with acceleration. Due to the long grass and the ball back in our stance this ball will come out easily and will land about halfway and run the rest of the way.
The pin cut closely to the edge of the green will require a bit more of bunker rules. In order to pull this pitch shot off we need height to stop the ball. The long grass will take backspin off of the ball and therefore we must adjust our setup to get the ball up. First set up with a much wider stance and move farther from the ball. Next, lower the handle of the club. This will provide a feeling that our hands will be down and close to our knees. Now simply play this shot like a bunker shot with the clubface open at address and out goal is to hit slightly behind the ball. We want nice rhythm and a ¾ backswing. Our club will enter the grass an inch or so behind the ball and we will control the distance by our follow through. A short firm follow through will produce a high soft shot while a longer follow through will produce a higher, softer, and longer shot. We are still hinging and holding with acceleration, but our setup is different. This will allow you to hit two different types of shots depending on the situation.
Remember that people struggle from these lies because they are unsure of how the ball will come out. You must force the ball to come out either low or high and this is affected mainly by our setup. Try these two different pitch shots and you will be prepared the next time you have this shot on the course.
Keep em Long and Straight,