In addition to his advice about playing from the rough and putting on fast greens, Rob Corcoran shared with The Met Golfer his thoughts on the tricky shots around the green when the rough is thick.
The concept is similar to hitting out of the rough next to the fairway – you first and foremost have to assess your lie. The people who chip really well around the greens might do so with an 8-iron one day, and the next day they’re using a lob wedge because of the lies they got.
When you’re chipping out of thick rough, it’s very important to increase your grip pressure – I know they always say “hold the club like a bird,” but swinging through thick grass will knock that bird right out of your hand. If your grip pressure is too light, the rough will stop the clubhead, and success in chipping out of this stuff depends on getting the clubhead through the ball. You want to be especially firm with the last three fingers of the left hand (for a right-handed golfer) to keep the club accelerating through the ball and to keep your wrist stable throughout. A few white knuckles won’t hurt anybody.
As with full shots from the rough, play the ball a bit back in your stance and come down steeply to minimize how far the leading edge has to travel through the grass. Swing all the way through – I can’t emphasize that enough. When the ball’s sitting down in the thick stuff, I’ll play it off the back of my back foot so it feels as if I’m coming straight down on the ball. I like to use an open stance, but that’s a matter of personal preference; practice from some long grass around the green and find what works for you and helps you keep an open clubface through impact. No matter how you stand, make sure to keep your weight forward, just like with the full-swing shots. And recognize that sometimes getting the ball out to where you can two-putt is the best you can do; if going for the perfect little shot runs the risk of leaving the ball in the rough, take your medicine and go on to the next battle.
When the ball’s sitting up, you can chip with any club.
A deep lie like this calls for the most lofted club you have.
Use firm grip pressure, especially in the last three fingers of your left (top) hand.
When the ball is sitting down, play it back in your stance (note the shaft lean) to promote a steep angle with the leading edge.
Ball back, weight forward, club is descending steeply to pop the ball out and get it onto the green.