How to play from the rough

Published 29/03/2010 08:24:00

Whenever you miss the fairway you face an important decision on which club to use to play back from the rough. Do you play aggressively and attack the green as usual,  or should you hold back, hitting safely towards the middle of the fairway? Your conclusion will largely be determined by your lie.


From thick rough

When your ball is nestled down at the bottom of some thick rough, your only option is to hack it back on to the fairway. In this situation it is easy to relax at the prospect of a relatively straightforward task. But if your guard slips you'll compound the error by failing to get the ball on to the fairway.

Take a sand wedge and move the ball back in your stance. This will create a steeper angle of attack than usual, which will help you strike the ball before hitting the long grass.

Also, open the clubface fractionally before starting the swing. Long grass can often cling on to the shaft, twisting it to the left through impact. By opening the face at address you prevent the ball from shooting off low and to the left.


Setting the angle

To ensure that the clubhead reaches the ball with enough speed to force it back on to the fairway, you need a steep angle of attack into the ball. Do this by hinging your wrists earlier than usual on the backswing. This movement prevents the club from becoming caught up in the grass before reaching the ball.


Club selection

When you are in the rough, your lie is not the only factor that will determine which club you select to play. You also need to consider the dangers that lie ahead on that particular hole. If there is water or sand surrounding the green, choosing a shorter club to lay up is usually the most sensible option.

If the path ahead is relatively clear and your lie is not too bad, a rescue club will help you find the bottom of the ball with enough power for a longer shot.


Prepare for the strike

You can legitimately test how thick grass affects your swing by making a series of practice swings in similarly dense rough a short distance away from your ball. This helps you gauge just how tough the grass is and how much it will slow the clubhead through impact.


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