Great accuracy and determination is called for when you are playing a shot of golf just short of the green. This will make for better golf.
Uncertainty will mean that you either hurry the stroke in a belated endeavor to pitch the ball further up to the hole or you quit on it through a last split-second feeling that you need to drop it shorter.
In either case you have distorted the delivery of the club head to the ball. This is weakness. Make up your mind to go ahead with the stroke you have pictured. To change the picture half-way is out of the question.
Practice these vital approach shots, which open up the prospect of a birdie every time they are properly judged and correctly executed. Indeed practice in this type of shot can be doubly beneficial. You will develop a greater accuracy and confidence in your ability to attack the hole by firm, not diffident stroke-making. And by making the correct movement away from, back to, and through the ball in this compact stroke you will consolidate your action in the hitting area -consolidation which will spread into your playing of the longer clubs.
The high pitch-and-run is played in similar manner to the pitch shot. The low pitch-and-run, giving less carry and more run (and usually the stroke to choose when the wind is blowing), is played with the club-face hooded, that is, with the hands more forward of the ball at address and the ball played more off the back foot. These considerations also apply to the run-up which is played with a straighter faced club, such as a five iron, but the club used is a matter of individual choice in the light of experience.
There is one factor which needs to be taken into account when playing from the rough particularly when near the green. You cannot apply the amount of back-spin from the rough as when "pinching" the ball against the turf of the fairway. Therefore expect more roll when the ball lands and allow accordingly.
Heather can be a nightmare to the average golfer. Playing better golf will mean you tackle it by inclining more weight on the left foot. Resist the inclination to grip more fiercely when you address the ball in a nasty spot. This is one of the chief faults of the "hacker". Remember that too fierce a grip at address usually means too slack a hold at impact.
There remains the bunker stroke.
The straightforward bunker stroke is the explosion from a well-conditioned trap with the adequate amount of fine dry sand. It is the simplest and most effortless stroke in the game.
Taking your heavy sand-iron you lay the face back slightly which is the reverse of hooding it. From an open stance, feet fairly close together and firmly planted in the sand to avoid movement during the playing of the stroke, you concentrate your eyes on the sand an inch or two behind the ball, depending upon how far you want the ball to carry.
On descending, the club head is going to contact this spot in the sand not the ball as in every other shot you play. Swing the club back slowly and smoothly OUTSIDE the line and then swing down normally to the entry to the hitting area.
From that point you simply drop the hands. The heavy headed sand-iron drops into the sand. Moving from outside to in, the club head comes through the sand and the ball is collected on a cushion of sand against the club-face. Allowed to go through into the follow-through unrestricted the club head will carry the ball clear and plop it lifeless on to the green.
Make no attempt to manipulate the club head in any way. As it comes out of the sand into the follow-through the hands and club-face should be as they were aligned in the address, no wrist-roll whatsoever taking place. Guard against shortening either the backswing or the follow-through. This is a slow, effortless, flowing motion of the club head.
Master this stroke and you will escape any bunker easily and will play much better golf.