Playing From Thick Rough

GM Top 25 Coach Ged Walters explains how common sense and a few simple adjustments can help you avoid big numbers when playing from thick rough

Playing From Thick Rough

GM Top 25 Coach Ged Walters explains how common sense and a few simple adjustments can help you avoid big numbers when playing from thick rough

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.

Watch: GM Top 25 Coach Andrew Jones tells you how to judge your lie in the 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.

When you're faced with a lie like this, don't be too ambitious over club selection!

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.

Watch: European Tour winner Brett Rumford explain how to chip from the rough too

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.

Hinge your wrists earlier than usual to generate a steeper angle of attack

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.

Watch: European Tour player David Howell explains how and when to hit a hybrid from the rough

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!

You must keep rotating all the way through the ball

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

Checklist * 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

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response