5 essential steps for hitting irons from the rough

No matter how much we wish we could hit every fairway, errant tee shots are inevitable. Even Jim Furyk, the PGA Tour leader in driving percentage, hits just over 75 percent of fairways. That means that once in every four tee shots, he finds the rough.

All of which is to say: It’s important to learn how to play from the hay. It’s not always easy, but if you employ the correct strategy, you should be able to get your ball back in play, and sometimes even on the green.

In this week’s episode of How to Hit Every Shot, instructor Erika Larkin offers five tips for hitting the ball out of the rough. Watch the video above or read below for more.

1. Evaluate your lie

When you get to your ball, the first thing to take note of is your lie. If the ball is sitting up, then you should be able to get solid contact on the ball. But if it’s sitting down a bit, it might limit your options on the type of shot you can play. It all depends on the lie.

2. Evaluate the grass

You’ll also want to check out the type of grass you’re working with. See and feel the grass around the ball and determine if the grass is growing toward the target, or if it’s growing away from it. Also take note of if there is a large clump behind your ball that will impede your swing. If so, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your plan.

3. Club up

One of those adjustments might be clubbing up. With the rough grabbing your club as it comes through the hitting area, it’s going to be more difficult to get the same kind of contact and distance. Club up to compensate for this.

4. Steeper swing

Wirth more grass around the ball, you’ll need to take a steeper swing path to get as much club on the ball as possible. Focus on getting steep on the takeaway and then as you come into impact so you can make better contact.

5. Open clubface

Opening the clubface is another adjustment you should make when in the rough. The grass will grab the ball and shut down the face during impact, so open it up a bit to compensate for that.

Need more help with your irons? Get fit for new clubs from the experts at our sister company, True Spec Golf.

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and is the staff’s self-appointed development tour “expert.”