Friday, June 17, 2011

How to play out of deep rough

Everyone will get a first hand look from watching the US Open at Congressional this week at how hard it is to play a shot from very deep rough.  If it is difficult for tour players, which makes it even harder for the average golfer.
When you are assessing your shot you must first evaluate how bad the ball is sitting.  Think about as 2 different lies, if the blades of grass are lower than the top of the ball you shouldn’t have much trouble getting the ball out.  If the blades of grass are higher than the top of the ball (as shown below) we have some issues.

The key to playing the shot is in the setup.  The shot requires a steeper swing path than you would probably make for your normal swing.  Setup with an open stance(aiming slightly left) and place to ball in the middle of your stance.  When making your backswing you want to try to have your backswing consist of more arms taking the club away and less or your traditional shoulder turn.  This will make the club swing slightly on a steeper path or more upright and help get the club down on the ball and out of the rough.

Reminder:  The club still has to get lower than the ball in order for it to come out.

The difficult part about playing from the rough is that all that grass gets trapped between your club and the ball and wants to grab onto your club.  Your club starts to slow down because of all the interference of the grass, and the ball does not get a direct hit like you are used to.  If you believe you can still get to the green with the lie you have you will want to take additional club to offset the interference.  If you don’t believe you can get to the green you will want to choose a club with a lot of loft to help you get the ball up and out of the long grass as quick as possible.  Sometimes it makes more sense to get the ball back out into the short grass and have a slightly longer next shot than to be a hero and try for the green and end up still in the rough.

You will see these tips used at Congressional all week and they will help you when faced with the same situation.

Good Luck

Michael J Kenny, PGA
Needwood Golf Course

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