How To Pitch From Muddy Lies

In this video, short game guru Dan Grieve explains how to master this tricky shot

PGA pro Dan Grieve hitting a pitch shot from a muddy lie at Woburn
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

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How to pitch from muddy lies

Pitching and chipping from muddy lies strikes fear into many of us as it brings the dreaded duff and thin into play. But like a lot of shots in golf, it can be made easier by getting on top of the basics. In the video and article below, short game guru Dan Grieve runs through everything you need to know.

Many amateur golfers find it tough to get that clean, ball-first contact. However, getting your set-up right will help massively. With most short game shots, the bounce is usually your friend, but this is one of the exceptions. 

Instead, you want to make sure you are using more of the leading edge, so you contact the back of the ball. When you use too much of the bounce off muddy and wet lies, the club will just dig into the ground and the ball will go nowhere.

The set-up

Let's start with the ball position. It needs to be just back of centre and with your chest bone a good few inches ahead of the ball, as this dictates the low point in the swing. It's far better to err on the side of too far forward in this instance.

PGA pro Dan Grieve setting up to hit a pitch shot at Woburn

You want the ball position back in your stance and your weight forward 

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The issue I see with most golfers is that they get their wight stuck on the back foot on these sorts of shots and that brings the low point back, making it very easy to hit the ground first and reducing your margin for error.

If you're still struggling, raising your hands a little at address will also help to crisp up the contact, as it reduces the likelihood of the heel digging into the ground. 

Finish through the shot

Another factor is the length of the follow-through. If you have a longer finish, you tend to release more of the bounce. When you have a shorter finish with more pace, it allows the hands to stay a bit further in front of the clubhead and get that ball-first contact.

With the strike, it will go lower and the ball will be fairly hot, but that is the sacrifice you are making to improve the quality of the strike. If that sounds hard to picture, make sure you watch the video above.

Tight pin? Go toe down

When the pin is cut tight or you need to fly the ball over a bunker, you have a few different options. If that’s the case, you are forced into going for something a little more risky, like the flop shot. Consequently, one of the most important things is to get the club selection right.

PGA pro Dan Grieve setting up to hit a flop shot from a muddy lie at Woburn

A club like the TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 wedge is perfect for this shot

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

A club like the TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 wedge is perfect as it is really shaved down on the toe and has full-face grooves in the higher lofts. This means you can get it sitting flush to the ground, which really helps you make clean contact, while you aren't sacrificing spin.

To play it, open your feet up a little and feel like you swing the toe across the ball. It might take some practise but in time you should be able to nip the club under the ball and get the desired height. It's an incredibly handy shot to have in your locker, especially in the winter months.

Dan Grieve
Top 50 Coach

Location: Woburn GC  

Dan is one of the leading coaches in the UK, a Fellow of the PGA and a short-game virtuoso. He has had considerable success with a collection of tour pros, helping them to Order of Merit titles and major victories, and his Short Game School is the most attended in the UK. His students, past and present, include Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Inci Mehmet and Iona Stephen.

Most common problem:

Swing – over the top , help by getting the basics correct at address and making them aware how to get the club online coming down.

Short game – creating spin and feel around the greens, help by educating on what the short game actually is (weak on purpose) and understand bounce and how they can apply it to different lies/situations.

Greatest success story:

Helping Georgia Hall from World No. 450 to No. 6 and winning a Major, two Order of Merits and Solheim Cup appearances.

Greatest teacher:

Alex Hay was a great influence during my first few years at Woburn. In sport more generally Sir Clive Woodward has taught me how to deliver at the highest level.

Most common fault:

Flipped right hand (hands behind the ball). Understand a correct coil/load going back and how to sequence better coming down so the chest opens up and gives the arms space to deliver a stronger impact. Lots of body action drills to enhance the feel, with and without the ball.