How to pitch it close from nasty greenside grass

November 2, 2018

When playing from heavy rough off the fairway, escape is the first order of business, but from around the green, knocking it close remains priority No. 1.

For starters, choke down on a lob or sand wedge and narrow your stance, keeping pressure over your left foot. Position the ball forward in your stance and aim your feet, hips and shoulders slightly left of your target, keeping the clubface open to unlock the club’s bounce.

Take a couple of practice swings first from a similar patch of rough. Use more wrist hinge than normal going back and — here’s the secret — swing along your shoulder line, not toward the target. And do it with speed, so that the club makes a loud “whoosh” through impact.

If you only hear a soft brushing of the grass, add more arm speed. This auditory cue tells you that you’re creating the speed you need to dislodge the ball from the cabbage. Now step up and repeat it for real — and show the rough who’s boss!


Hinge your wrists quickly on your backswing and, as you come through impact, listen for the sound of your clubhead powering through the heavy grass. Halt your finish when the shaft is parallel to the ground. Aim to land a bit short of where you want the ball to end up, because it won’t have as much spin and will roll out a little more.

Debbie Doniger


At address, set your body slightly left of the target and set the clubface open to your stance. Stand closer to the ball than usual and listen for the whoosh when you swing. Combining speed with this setup creates the angle and loft you need at impact to launch the ball up and out.

Debbie Doniger