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Home / Journal / 5 tips on getting out of the rough

5 tips on getting out of the rough

Published on 17 August 2017
One of the biggest annoyances in golf is finding yourself in the rough. But we’ve got tips to help you get out and back on track in no time.
5 tips on getting out of the rough
Getting stuck in the rough is not only irritating, it can also put your whole game off track. The frustration of trying to get out can stick around for the rest of the hole, hitting your confidence and leading you to play riskier shots later to make up the lost shot you took getting out of the rough.

But worry not – we’ve got 5 simple tips that should help you defeat the rough…

1. Just get out
No matter where you land in the rough or how good a golfer you are, there’s always the temptation to just play it like any shot and continue up the fairway towards the green so you don’t lose a shot.

But the reality is that, unless you’ve got a really good lie and a clear route to the pin, landing in the rough is probably going to cost you a shot. Try to go for glory and you may well end up mishitting it and ending either in deeper rough or out of position.

The trick is to just take your punishment and then try and get back on the fairway and into position. Even if that just means chipping the ball out of the rough 10 yards on. This tactic means you’re only going to lose one shot, instead of two or three.

2. Avoid the double hit
One big issue with playing out of deep rough is the double hit. This is where you play the ball and then on your follow through swing you hit it again. This is not only classed as a foul but will send your shot off target.

It happens because the rough can slow your swing down to the same speed as the ball as it leaves the club face. To prevent this from happening, you need to have control of your club.

Do this by grabbing firmly to the club with the bottom three fingers of your left hand (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer). This prevents the club face from closing too much. Secondly, try and keep your follow through to a minimum. 
5 tips on getting out of the rough

3. Take practice swings
You’ll have probably mastered your various key swings – the drive, approach shot, chips and putts. You might even have a few swings ready for bunker shots. But landing in the rough is a different matter as each patch is pretty much unique.

It’s worth taking a few practice shots in the rough next to where your ball lies, bottoming out at the same level the ball is. This will give you a feel for how much give the grass has, how much it’s going to slow your club head, and how fast your follow through will be.

Just be careful not to disturb the grass around your ball as this would be classed as a foul. The very last thing you need.

4. Risk it in light rough
While we’ve said that caution is the best option when playing out of the rough and that you should aim for position over distance, if you’re in light rough it could be worth taking a chance.

Get a good look at the lie of the ball. If it’s sitting on the grass – as opposed to inside it – then you might just get a clean shot. Try using a high-loft wood or hybrid. Keep the club face open and adjust your swing to allow for a slight drag that might close the face on impact.

5. Plan for landing
With shots from deep rough, you’re not going to be able to do much with the ball other than lift it out. The chances of getting any sort of spin or control on the ball are low. This is because the rough will cover a lot of the ball’s surface.

Instead of the ball spinning back or landing nicely on the spot, expect it to run on for a bit. You need to plan this into your shot – if there’s a bunker, even more rough or a water hazard across the fairway, be wary of playing the shot too hard.