How to Hit from Heavy Rough

(Buried, Against the Grain)

Try as hard as you might your golf ball will still land in the rough more often than you would like. Knowing how to get out from the rough and back into the fairway or onto the green is vital in order to limit its damage to the scorecard. The key here is to assess the conditions of your lie and tweak your setup and swing accordingly. Whenever you are faced with a heavy rough lie the goal is to assure that your clubhead makes solid contact with the ball before being slowed down by the longer grass blades. This differs from when the ball is sitting up in fluffy lie. Follow the steps below if you are playing from heavy rough, or if your ball is buried or is positioned against the grain.


Key Objective:

Good contact with the ball, before clubhead is slowed down by grass blades gripping your club


Aim for the Front of the Green

Expect the ball to roll upon landing after hitting from heavy roughHitting from the rough – in contrast to hitting from the fairway – will make it harder to create some backspin into the ball. This means that upon landing on the green, the ball will skid – or release – more than it would if you were hitting from the fairway. Counter this effect by aiming in front of the flag and see the ball release upon landing.


Use One More Club

Use more club when hitting from heavy roughDepending on how tall the grass in the rough is you’ll need to adjust for it through your club selection. The taller grass found in the rough will slow down your clubhead as it makes its way into contact with the ball. This means that your club will strike the ball with less speed than it would if you were hitting from the fairway, and won’t travel as far. For that reason, club up when you are in the rough, specifically when the rough is deep or the ball is against the grain.


Position the Ball Back in your Stance

Position the ball a little back in your stance when hitting from the roughIn order to minimize the slowing effect of the grass on your club speed you can position the ball a little further back in your stance. Hitting the ball sooner in the swing arc will translate into fewer grass blades catching your clubhead before it strikes the ball. All in all, doing so should help in keeping your clubhead speed, or at least the speed reduction – if any – will occur after you strike the ball and after the ball is airborne.


Stand a Little Closer to the Ball

Stand a little closer to the ball when hitting from heavy roughStanding closer to the ball than you normally would will position the shaft of your club in a more upright position. And a club that is more upright will be coming down towards the ball in a more vertical fashion. Coming in vertically will reduce the amount of grass that will touch your clubhead, which would slow it down in the process. Therefore, in order to reduce the slowing effect of the grass on your club speed, stand a little closer to the ball but not so close as to bring in shanks into play.


Open the Clubface a Little

Open your clubface a little when hitting from heavy roughOpening the clubface at address slightly will help counter the twisting effect the grass will have on your clubhead. Indeed, grass will tend to grip the heel of your clubhead first, will twist it and put your club in a closed position. Address this by opening the clubface a little and raise your chances that your club will be square when it hits the ball.


Grip your Club Tightly

Grip your club tightly when hitting from heavy roughHitting from the deep rough is not the ideal time to practice hitting while holding your club lightly in your hands, as if you were holding a live bird. Rather, the long blades of grass will grip into the clubface, slowing it down and twisting it. In order to keep your clubface square through impact you should grip your club more tightly than you normally would. When you’ll be back into the fairway you can resume gripping your club lightly, which is preferred.


Keep your Shoulders Level at Address

Straighten your shoulders when hitting from heavy roughNormally, your shoulders would be angled up where your front – left – shoulder is higher than your back – right – shoulder. This happens because your right hand is lower on the grip than your left hand. However and again in order to promote a steeper angle of attack, position your shoulders so that they are level. Doing so should reduce the amount of grass blades that come into contact with and potentially slow down your clubhead.


Fully Hinge your Wrists

Hinge your wrists early when hitting from the roughAnother way to promote a descending blow into the ball is to make sure your wrists fully hinge during your swing. Indeed, passive wrists during the backswing – and downswing – translate into a flatter swing and a swing arc that will brush more of the taller grass. A good wrist hinge will strike the ball in more a descending blow and will catch fewer grass blades as a result.


TIPS FOR DIFFICULT LIES
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