How to attack a shot from heavy rough (and the best club to use)

Top 100 Teacher Tina Tombs explains how to hit a shot from heavy rough.

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Missing the fairway is always a bummer, but it’s even more disappointing when you end up in the rough and still have a long club in your hand.

Hybrids have made these shots a bit easier to deal with, but lengthy shots from heavy rough are still a significant challenge, especially for women.

Since this is an area of the game I’m personally interested in, I decided to ask Top 100 Teacher Tina Tombs for her advice on how to best handle the situation.

How to attack a shot from heavy rough

“Heavy rough is tough, particularly for women, because they don’t have very strong hands,” Tombs said.

The first thing you need? Loft, Tombs said. And a specific mindset over the ball.

“You need to hold onto the club firmer with your left hand, to prevent the club from grabbing the grass,” she said.

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Tombs said there are two ways to approach a shot from heavy rough. You can elect to play it in the back of your stance or play it forward.

“I like to play it forward, because it makes the swing a little steeper,” Tombs said. “The face can stay open more, and the ball can come out of the rough better.”

And instead of a hybrid, Tombs recommends going with another lofted long club instead.

“I’ve found that bringing a 7-wood into my bag makes it easier to get out of rough than a hybrid if it’s a longer shot, because a hybrid requires a steeper swing,” Tombs said. “The 7-woods come out of there and they just roll forever. The ball comes out low out of the rough, but it rolls as far as a good shot because it has so much top spin. So understanding what rough can do and what the lie is is really important.”

Of course, bailing out is always an option too — and there’s no shame in taking your medicine to avoid compounding your initial error.

“If you’re really not sure, take your 9-iron and get it out,” Tombs said. “Don’t risk topping it and leaving it in the rough.”

For more tips from Tina Tombs, click here.

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As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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