Hideki Matsuyama overcame a sluggish back nine Sunday to win the Memorial in a playoff over Kevin Na, securing his first PGA Tour victory.
In the playoff, Matsuyama was able to splash a wedge shot from thick greenside rough close enough to save par and win.
When greenside rough is thick, it can pose problems for golfers of all skill levels. Most of the bad shots you see on Tour are a result of players trying to escape tall grass found around the green.
In addition to the tall grass, the difficulty of this shot is compounded by the many different lies your ball might encounter.
This makes practicing shots from thick rough difficult to do because the lie and distance of the shot always seems to change.
Here are a few tips to make your escapes from thick greenside rough a little more successful:
• The splash shot. If your ball has found a bad lie deep in the tall grass around the green, using a splash shot similar to a bunker shot is the best approach. Open the clubface slightly and intentionally hit the ground before the ball to “splash” the ball out of the rough. Although not very predictable, if you maintain acceleration through impact you should at least have a putt for your next shot.
• The flier. The exact opposite lie of the ball sitting down in the rough would be the ball sitting up. The key to this shot is making sure your angle of attack isn’t too steep, which can cause the club to go under the ball. Think of Steve Stricker and how he minimizes wrist action using his upper body to make the swing. This keeps the club from digging into the ground, allowing the club to swing at the level of the ball.
• Practice swings. Standing far enough away from the ball so you don’t accidentally cause your ball to move, make several practice swings paying attention to how the club is interacting with the grass through impact. If the grass is grabbing your club and slowing it down, make sure you grip tighter and keep the club accelerating.
No two greenside shots from the rough are exactly the same so the more you can practice these general tips the more prepared you can be in any situation.
For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your short game, click here.