How long is the rough at the Open Championship?

We take a walk inside the ropes at Royal Troon to discover how long the rough really is at this week's Open Championship

rough royal troon open 2016

We walk a few holes at Royal Troon Golf Club to see how high the rough is at the Open Championship and asses what effect it may have on the scoring

While the rough is a serious factor in final three of the year’s four majors, it is arguably at the Open Championship, held on traditional Links golf courses where it is at its most influential.

This year’s edition of golf’s oldest championship is at Royal Troon on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast. The weather hasn’t been especially kind in the run up to tournament week so it begs the question – how long exactly is the rough?

As expected, it’s long. In places, very long. We walked inside the ropes along the side of the first hole, around the 17th green and then up the side of the 18th hole. Generally speaking the rough outside the fairway and first cut is patchy but it averages around a foot in length. There are some low, more bare spots where players can get lucky and find a good lie but the chances are an errant tee or approach shot will result in a hack out back to the fairway.

Troon the Open 18th-drop-zone

There are some patches, like to the right of the par-three 17th hole, that are beyond knee-height and may even result in players having to take an unplayable lie. Add in the plentiful gorse bushes scattered around the layout and it becomes clear the players have their work cut out. As you’ll see from the picture above, even the drop zones from the grandstands aren’t much better.

The video at the top of this story demonstrates that there’s a strong chance the ball will nestle right down into the bottom of the grass and the fact it is currently quite wet, with more rain forecast for Wednesday, will not help the players.

Royal Troon 18th hole Open Championship

The direction the grass is growing will play a big part in deciding if they can advance the ball a considerable distance. If it is growing towards the direction of player, most will be able to get the ball up to or close to the green. From what we’ve seen, the direction is not consistent – it’s just luck of the draw.

This is why backing straight drivers, or those that can control their ball flight in the wind, is crucial. Read our Open Championship betting guide to find out who our resident Tipster picked to do well this week.



Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x