The other day at Thai Country Club in Bangkok I found myself in the thick rough next to the green four times during my round. I used my normal chip shot to get out, only to find to my horror that two times the ball just got stick and two times the ball sailed clear over the other side of the green. Needless to say I could not saved par and was lucky to made bogey each time.
When Tiger Woods played at Blue Canyon in Phuket in 1998 and then again at Alpine Golf Club in Bangkok, both Johnnie Walker Classic events; he could get up and down from practically any lie near the green. Through countless hours of practice, he's mastered shot making from any lie. But none of us are Tiger Woods. Therefore I decided to ask a few golf professionals in Thailand what to do when in thick grass or have a buried lie around the green when golfing in Thailand. Here is what I found out.
I used my 60 degree wedges for everything around the green. That works only if you're proficient with a high lofted club. But I’m not, so using other clubs to chip with near the green is a better option. In fact, it can make a big difference. The tall grass chip with a pitching wedge or nine/eight iron shows how chipping with other clubs works.
I started standing more erect and closer to the ball, with the ball positioned back in the stance. The key was to hit to hit as little grass behind the ball as possible. I now set my golf club on its toe, at address with the shaft almost vertical and my feet close together. I use a short steep back swing, hit down abruptly on the ball, with little follow-through. The ball now pops out of the grass and lands softly on the green.
Using just the toe is key to this shot. When I played the shot from my regular address position, the golf club head would tend to get caught in the grass. But the toe doesn't. It glides through the grass smoothly and slides under the ball with ease. Now I get a nice clean shot.
Don't let tall grass ruin a chip. No matter if you are playing at a premium Thailand golf course like Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin or at a run-of-the-mill golf course like Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort. Use the toe's ability to pass through the grass smoothly to knock the ball close to the pin. Learn use a variety of clubs around the green depending on how far you want the ball to roll once it lands on the green. Have fun and enjoy golfing in Thailand.