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Amen Corner: Hitting Out of the Rough Can Be Rough

Peter Harris

Peter Harris

Hitting the ball out of deep rough is like driving your car through a cavernous puddle of water. You’re cruising along and then all of a sudden you slow way down. It’s not a good feeling.

When hitting a golf ball from the rough your club head gets caught by the grass, slowed down and club face typically closes taking all the loft away and making it all the more difficult to hit the distance you want.

How can you hit better shots out of the rough?

First, analyze the lie. Is the ball sitting well down in the rough or is it sitting up on the grass? If it’s sitting up you have a chance. If it’s sitting down and surrounded by tall spires of grass, you’ll have to change your strategy.

Second, you have to pick the right club for the job. Picking the right club for hitting out of the rough should not be based on the distance you normally or need to hit the ball, but which club will get the ball in the air, or which club — if you hit a stinker — will not penalize you too badly.

I often see folks using a club with which they have no chance getting the ball in the air out of the rough, and the result is predictable and penalizing.

Most of the time, when you pick a distance based club to hit out of the rough, the club gets slowed way down, the face closes and the ball goes half the intended distance.

It’s best to take your medicine and select a more lofted club out of the rough.

Medicine stinks, I know, but after you take it you usually perform better.

After the grass has done it’s dirty work closing the club face, your wise club selection will leave enough loft on the club to get the ball airborne, resulting in more distance and a less penalizing shot.

While swinging the club, use more of an arm swing with less body rotation to deliver the club on a steeper angle of attack. A steeper angle of attack will deliver the club with less grass between the club face and ball and give you a better chance of solid contact.

Often times, holding the club a little tighter in the hands and opening the face a little at address will reduce the amount the face closes when it gets gobbled up by the long grass as well.

So, play smart from the deep grass. Intelligent decisions often lead to the best results.

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon.