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Method | From the Rough

Appeared in Summer 2014 LINKS

Mike Adams and T.J. Tomasi 2000
When you find your ball in deep rough you have to make two critical evaluations: “What score do I need to make?” and “How will the grass affect my swing?” If you’re playing match play and your opponent is next to the pin with a sure par, the shot you’ll choose is different from one if it was the second hole of a 36-hole stroke-play tournament. Total Golf

Billy Casper 1966
When your tee shot lands in the rough, don’t always automatically reach for an iron. There are times when a fairway wood can do the job better. On this trouble shot, I play the ball a bit forward of center. My stance is slightly open to the intended line of flight at address. I keep my hands a bit behind the ball. With my hands in this position, the clubface is laid back, but it is still facing the target. This increases the effective loft of the face, and helps shoot the ball out of there fast. Any indication of a hooded or closed clubface will surely ruin this shot. Golf Shotmaking


George Hibbard 2003
You need to adjust your club’s path to the ball so that it comes down onto the ball from above it enough to minimize grab, rather than sweeping into the ball from behind where grass will ruin the shot. One possible solution is to put the ball back in your stance, more before the low point than usual, as required by the density and height of the grass you have to deal with.
Golf’s Critical Details

John Jacobs 2006
Although it doesn’t appear so, one of the most difficult trouble shots is that presented when a ball tees itself up in light rough—anything from a half an inch to two inches, above the ground. The great danger here lies in swinging the clubface underneath the ball, ballooning it weakly high into the air. Here, the only real safeguard is to watch the ball carefully and use a deep-faced club (the driver is ideal if distance is required). 50 Years of Golfing Wisdom

Joe O’Rourke 1979
If you’re not familiar with courses that have sandy subsoil sown with Bermuda grass, it’s likely you’ll run into problems. If you hit the least bit behind the ball, the wiry Bermuda grass affords no cushion to the clubhead, and the ball will be hit “heavy.” To ensure that the ball is taken first, I position my hands well ahead of the ball at address and consciously hit down on the back of the ball. This results in a shot with low trajectory, good distance and plenty of backspin. Golf Magazine’s Shortcuts to Better Golf

Mike McGetrick 2000
From heavy rough, set up to hit a fade. Remember, the ball won’t curve as much as it would from a clean lie, but the fundamentals of the shot are exactly the same. Align your clubface along the line on which you want the ball to start, with your stance and body opened a corresponding amount and your hands positioned just ahead of the ball. Now swing along the line of your shoulders as you go back, lifting the club more with your arms than you would in a normal swing. Maintain a slightly faster tempo on the forward   swing and take a good aggressive pass at the ball. The Scrambler’s Dozen

Jack Nicklaus 2002
On a short pitch from rough around the green, swing the clubhead up and down on the same arc and plane, which is kept as straight back and straight through as possible—no maneuvering the club either outside or inside the target line. At the same time, the steepness necessary for clean impact is achieved by cocking the wrists straight off the ball, then aggressively swinging the clubhead down and through the ball predominantly with the right hand. My Golden Lessons

Todd Sones 2011
When the ball is nestled in the rough and the grass is growing toward you, use one or two more clubs than usual. For longer shots, unless you are unusually strong, you’ll do better with a lofted fairway wood. In the rough, the sole of a fairway wood will part the grass and slide through easier than a mid-iron or long iron. Aim the body left and assume a slightly open stance, ball positioned in the middle or just slightly forward of the midpoint of your body, and grip the club with a slightly open clubface. The 40 Toughest Shots in Golf         

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