Playing from Greenside Rough
by Robert Linville, Director of Instruction

Playing golf in the summer and fall in the south present golfers with a variety of short game shots from the bermuda-grass rough. Two of the most common shots we encounter around the greens are (1) The ball sits up on top of the thick grass or (2) the ball nestles down in the thick rough. Each shot is difficult and each shot has to be played with a different technique from the other.

It is very easy to slide the club under the ball and strike the ball very high on the clubface when the ball is sitting on top of the thick bermuda-grass rough. Therefore, you should play the back farther in your stance to insure that you strike the ball early in the downswing. This prevents the club from moving down too far under the ball. The ball will almost always come up short when you strike the ball too high on the clubface. So, play the ball back just inside your right foot and strike the ball cleanly, which in turn allows you to predict the outcome of the distance.

The second scenario, and the one you face more often, is when the ball nestles down in the rough. I believe one of the toughest shots in golf is a very short shot (10 yards or less) from thick bermuda-grass rough. It’s very difficult to commit to keeping the club moving with enough speed from this lie, but that is truly the key element in playing successful shots from the thick rough. You want to play the ball in the middle or slightly forward in your stance with a slightly open clubface. YOU MUST COMMIT TO KEEPING THE SPEED UP THROUGH IMPACT. As Gary Player says, you must strike the match and not decelerate through impact. You have to practice these lies enough to know how much speed you need based on the thickness of the rough, but the key element is convincing yourself to keep your club moving through impact.

Get out and practice different lies around the green. That’s the only way to save valuable strokes that are usually wasted. Try these techniques and you’ll see much better results than you have been getting.

Call Precision Golf School at 336.510.4653 to schedule a lesson with Robert.