How To Hit From Light Rough

By | on August 12, 2016 | 28 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

28 Responses to “How To Hit From Light Rough”

  1. Avatar photo

    August 16, 2014


    Paul, great tip. I’ve never thought about opening the club face in any kind of rough. No wonder I’ve been pulling it a lot with an iron.

    • August 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Yes, this is a pretty simple way to hit these shots from light rough. It just takes the possibility of smothering it out of the picture.

  2. August 16, 2014


    Greetings Coach My question is about my chipping most of the time my chipping is fine/ every once in a while i start to shank and i cant get out of it / then all of a sudden it stops / what am i doing wrong when i shank. I watched your chipping tip and the one thing that i noticed was it looked like your right wrist hinged o wee bit on the back stroke and maybe i dont always do that your thoughts PS i try to draw the club straight back and not around my body

    • I have this same issue occasionally on short chips & it’s from an open clubface at contact which causes the shank. Just concentrate on keeping your hands ahead & the face square or close it a little & hit it like a putt with firm wrists. Just be sure to hit through it. That’s what works for me.

    • August 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      If you are shanking it the weight is rolling onto your toes. This puts you closer to the ball so you hit the hosel of the club.

      As a drill just hit some chips with the weight on your heels. Also, chipping is like putting. You need to be stroking it like you would when you putt. Hopefully you are not trying to take you putter straight back and straight through. This is not how to putt. So you need a slight arc with putting then apply this stroke to chipping. I am not trying to hinge it. If it hinges a little that is fine but you are really trying to keep your wrists locked when chipping and putting.

      To this day I visualize my putter as I am chipping. I then just feel like I am applying his stroke to the chip. Give this a try with the weight a little on your heels and you should stop shanking yo chips. Once you start making better contact roll the weight back to the middle.

  3. Paul ,The “light “rough you play from in this very interesting video is very “light “indeed.
    In this light “rough ,I play my normal club for the distance ,usually the 5 fairway Wood without opening the face , when I ‘m far from the green ,or else a 19°or 23° Hybrid .(The drive has landed in the rough )
    Now my “normal”light rough at CANNES MANDELIEU is fairly higher that what you show here,sometimes only the top of the ball is showing .I also play 5 Wood or Hybrid ,but I take care to hit down on the ball and through .
    This grass at my course is also a bit like “wire “,it slows down the clubhead considerably through high friction .
    Would you advise to “open “the clubhead for 5 wood and Hybrids .
    When I watched JASON DAY hit from high grass in the USPGA 2014 ,he seemed to hit without special precautions ,just hit as “”hard” as he could !
    But he’s a top player ,not me !

    • August 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      In this video I say if you are in heavy rough you may need to take a higher lofted club and just get it out.

      You can try opening the face but deep rough would require more of a descending blow so you may want to do the knock down shot. You just have to try different shots and find what works best for you.

  4. August 16, 2014


    Hi Paul:

    I know we’re finished with the full swing but going back a little. What objection do you have if on the full swing you actually set the club after you hinge on the backswing and stop at that point even for just a second. From that point you only have to think of kicking your knee in to the finish. This would literally take half the process out of the picture.

  5. Avatar photo

    August 17, 2014


    Hello Paul. Thank you for taking time on the phone. Just to remind you to send me the link on the videos I should be working on. Herminio

  6. Hi Paul – What adjustment in ball position or club selection should be taken into consideration when playing a ball sitting in a divot either on the fairway or in the rough?? Thanks!

    • January 7, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      If you are playing fro a divot you would need to move it back. I would be learning this shot:

      Knock Down Shot:

      Rough I would still be playing the regular ball position unless it was really deep rough and I was trying to just chop it out and get it back in the fairway. If so, I would do the same shot as above with the higher lofted club with the thought of getting it back in play.

  7. February 10, 2016


    Hi Paul, I cannot access a few of your videos so hence the question. When in light/heavy rough how much do I need to use my arm strength? as using just the hips with “no arms” doesn’t seem to work consistantly. Lewis

    • February 10, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      You need to hold on so the grass is not twisting the club in your hands. If you were in deep rough you would be chopping it out with a higher lofted club so you would be using your arms as well as your body. Light rough I would still not be trying to hit. If you do you will pull it.

      You need a secure grip but loose wrists:

      Secure Grip Loose Wrists:

  8. February 13, 2016


    Many thanks. Lewis

  9. Avatar photo

    August 2, 2016


    Can’t bring up this hitting from the light rough video? Has no access point. ??

  10. August 15, 2016


    Dear Paul: I would like you comments on a drill I have been using which I have found to be very helpful in emphasizing “powerless arms” on the downswing which you teach. As I proceed to the next level of my own game I find as the round progresses, pressure mounts, or I try to hit the ball father the infamous over the top feel appears (right shoulder coming out of the swing plane) resulting in a hook, blocked push fade, or the disastrous double cross left.

    After checking the fundamentals at the set up with a light 2 out of 10 grip, I find it helpful on normal shots to try and keep the grip pressure at a constant “2” throughout the swing.

    I find that by keeping the grip pressure consistently light (or should I say lighter) during the down swing it is easier for the arms to remain “powerless” which makes it naturally easier for me to deliver the on the downswing on the proper plane and naturally release through the ball.

    Bear in mind I do not want “wobbly” arms or a “loose” grip, but I just to keep my arms and upper body relaxed, loose and supple during the downswing and not use them to dominate or “force” the shot would prevent me from taking full advantage of my lower body control and torque. Keeping my grip pressure low and consistent seems to promote a more relaxed and flowing feeling. Please let me know if by adopting this drill I am on the road to disaster.

    Sincerely, Tom White

    • August 15, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      This is totally fine as you say though, you don’t want to let go of the club. I would think that if you are trying to keep it 2 out of 10 you are still holding on tighter than that. If not, you would be letting go of it.

      If it is working I love it. Keep doing it and keep your eye on it in the future.

  11. Great tip Paul,

    Is the tip the same if you are in Deep to Light rough on a Par 5 with still 200+ yards to the pin? I am not along iron hitter so perhaps a hybrid makes sense. Look forward to hearing from you.


    • Avatar photo

      April 26, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      You can try it on deep rough but it may not work. Once the rough is too deep you should be taking a higher lofted club and just chopping it out getting the ball back in play. People sometimes try to get too much from an impossible lie. This causes them to not get it out and are face with the same shot again with a negative thought process. This scenario can easily turn into a triple of higher. If there is doubt you can get the ball out figure out what yardage you need to easily get the next shot on the green. Then hit a club that will get the ball to hit yardage instead of hoping for a miracle.

      I recently replaced my 3 iron with a hybrid because I find them so much easier to hit out of deeper rough. If you find the same thing then go with it but also keep in the back of you mind the lay up to take blow up holes out of the picture.

  12. July 10, 2017


    Hi Paul!
    I am a little unclear about the logic of opening the face of the club in rough. Surely the grass will grab the blade of the club and rotate it clockwise for a right handed player. In other words, it would open rather than close it.

    • John,

      Did you try it? I bet not. If the face is square the grass will grab the hosel and closes the face causing you to smother it. If it is open and it grabs the hosel it squares causing you to hit it perfectly. Give it a try.

  13. April 9, 2018


    Paul, while watching all other tips, most of the time you say use the same swing.
    If the club face will shut if doing a normal swing, why not just open the clubface with the hands, ie. turn the club open like with the flop shot or fake fade, than make a normal swing square to the ball, club should turn square?, if you just turn the club open with hands, are we now not manipulating the hands and the swing? trying to hold it open a little at impact. also, when they talk about flyers, would you take less club, will the ball fly farther or roll farther since you won’t get the spin on the ball,

  14. December 8, 2018



    I had the same question as Randy above and it looks like an answer never got posted. Could you please provide your thoughts on Randy’s concern?

    As a side note, I like your emphasis on not trying to get too much out of our shots from the rough. Too often we all try to get too much back and end up leaving in the rough perhaps in even a worse lie and we morph into a horrible mental state. Next thing we know there is a snowman on our scorecard. Good reminder.

    Many thanks!

    • Avatar photo

      December 10, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      Just try it as I suggest. If you do it how he suggested you will blow it right.

      Exactly, Get it out and back in play. High numbers have to come from somewhere. This is is one area they can come from.

      • December 10, 2018



        I’d follow you into a burning building. I’ll do it your way. This is a much needed tip because we all miss X number of fairways each round.


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