Playing from thick rough with GM Top 25 Coach, Ged Walters
1) Weigh it all up
Club selection, the amount of wrist hinge, ball position and ultimately speed of body rotation are all critical factors when it comes to getting it safely out when playing from thick rough.
Too many people try to just get it out with their hands and arms from the wrong ball position, and with the normal club for the distance in hand. But often you must take your medicine – if you can’t get enough club at it to get home, just get it back in a position from where your next shot is straightforward.
Assess your lie and use a bit of common sense, and you’ll save yourself the anguish of those really big numbers when you stray out of position
2) Club selection: be realistic
Let’s say you’re facing a shot of 165 yards but from a lie from which it would be all but impossible to get it there! You need to use a club that you know is going to move it forward, and if you can get it forward 100-120 yards you’ll have a straightforward pitch into the green – so a 9-iron instead of a 6- or 7-iron.
That’s probably the lowest loft you could get to the lie in the photo above – the key is to find the tipping point at which you can still advance it properly and leave yourself in the best position you can.
3) Ball position and wrist hinge
You’ll need to play the ball a fraction further back in your stance too. One of the major issues with thick rough is the potential for too much grass getting between ball and clubface, so hinge your wrists very early to generate a steep angle of attack into the golf ball.
This will naturally deloft the clubface at impact too, so the ball will come out quite a bit lower than normal and chase forward much more on landing.
4) Keep rotating
A steep angle of attack is all well and good, but to make it all work, you must keep the body rotating as you swing and really drive through the ball, getting your lead wrist into extension as early as possible. Any hint of slowing things down, and contact will be poor!
Use these strategies when the thickness of the lie means you just can’t get to the green in regulation and you will have a better chance of saving par, or perhaps making a good bogey instead of a disastrous treble as a result of either over-ambition or poor execution when playing from thick rough
* Apply a dose of common sense over club selection
* Move the ball back a fraction and hinge your wrists early
* Make sure you keep rotating at impact and beyond