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How To Play From Thick Rough

As we saw from the latest at the US Open 2023, the ability to keep the ball on the fairway was crucial. Time and time again we saw leaders falter as their balls headed into the thick rough. Their ability to advance their ball out of the thick rough without costing too many shots was the difference in them maintaining their position on the leaderboard.


The first aspect when the ball enters the thick rough is evaluating exactly what kind of lie they have. Does this lie lend itself to be somewhat aggressive or does it need to be a conservative strategy? We also mentally have to come to grips that this hole may not be a scoring hole but a hole where we limit the damage.


The answer to advancing the ball out of the thick rough is committing to a swing that comes down steep on the ball. You want to swing as vertical as you can to ensure the ball can pop out of any lie. You want to choose a very high lofted club such as a 9 or PW and position the ball at the back of the stance with around 60% of weight on the front foot. This will help in being steep as the further the ball is at the back of the stance, the more vertical the swing plane.


Sometimes depending on how thick the grass is, you may even 'open' your clubface. This is because the grass can sometimes turn the clubface quite rapidly to the left. If the grass is not as thick, we can still choose a fairly normal club to what we would usually use. Sometimes we may choose a lesser club as when hitting the ball out of the rough, we are more prone to 'flyer' lies. This is when the grass gets stuck between the ball and the clubface. This will result in less backspin.


Whichever lie you are confronted with just remember to choose a shot that limits any chance of having a blowout hole. If you need any help in executing from the rough just let me know.




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