September 29, 2008

Tiger Woods: Rip It Out Of The Rough

Take a firm grip; hit it with your right side

STAYING GROUNDED: On this wedge shot from Sunday at the U.S. Open, my hips have turned fully, but my right foot has not come up.

STAYING GROUNDED: On this wedge shot from Sunday at the U.S. Open, my hips have turned fully, but my right foot has not come up.

Golf course superintendents are going to great lengths to protect par, including narrowing landing areas and growing rough thick enough so you can't see your shoes. Hitting even a short wedge shot from this thick stuff requires strength and know-how.

Assuming you have adequate strength, the keys to advancing the ball from heavy rough are having a decent lie and keeping the clubface from turning over at impact. To accomplish this, I grip the club a little firmer than normal. It's not a death grip, just tight enough to keep the hosel from getting twisted in the long grass surrounding the ball.

I set up in a slightly open stance with the clubface also open a bit. Then I make a little steeper backswing so I can hit down on the shot, catching the ball first. I try to really fire my right side into the ball, powering it out with the big muscles in my legs and back, while keeping my lower body stable.

Beware: Even with proper execution, it's tough to judge how far the ball will go. Pick your target and club accordingly.

Tiger Woods writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of TigerWoods.com.