Waukesha County Seniors Monday Golf League


out of the rough

Power hitters often generate distance from the strength of their hands and forearms. If that's your story, you have an advantage when extricating the ball out of a place that power hitters often end up -- heavy rough.

There is no substitute for strength when trying to hit the ball out of long grass. The rough gets between the club and the ball, making clean contact impossible. Even if you can put the club on the ball, the grass drastically reduces clubhead speed. That means the only way out for many players is an extremely steep downswing with a wedge to hack the ball back to the fairway. A more sweeping swing would never make it through the grass.

Getting Out

But if you possess a stronger-than-average pair of hands and forearms, use them to your advantage to get free of the rough and make up some ground as well. Instead of backing down to a wedge, you may be able to power a less-lofted club through the rough where weaker players can't.

Being strong doesn't mean you can use any club you want from rough. The sweeping downswing arcs of the long irons and fairway woods still will be slowed enough to spoil the shot, even in your hands. But you may be able to hit a middle iron, giving you an advantage.

Take a slightly open stance to make a more upright swing and more descending blow than usual. Play the ball about one ball-width farther back in your stance than normal and take a firm grip on the club to keep the grass from twisting it out of your hands.

Make a very slow, deliberate three-quarter backswing and, keeping your head very still, swing the club down with all you've got, making a special effort to follow through.

The purpose of the shot is to advance the ball as far forward as possible with control, but be aware that the rough may cause the ball to squirt in any direction. If there are any hazards that an errant shot may find, you may prefer playing for a safe part of the fairway with a short iron instead of going for broke.

Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.

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If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this web site, please write to me: Ed Matarrese / revised November 2, 2002.