Hitting from deep rough? Ask yourself 1 question to decide your club choice

When there's uncertainty about which club to use from the deep rough, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone says ask yourself this one question

When there's uncertainty about which club to use from the deep rough, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone says ask yourself this one question.

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As every golfer knows, there’s a major difference between hitting from the rough and hitting from the deep rough. When faced with a shot from the former, you tend to have options and can use different clubs and shot types to execute your shot.

For example, instead of using your lob wedge to add some height and land it softly onto the green, you could go with something like an 8-iron, choking up on the grip and taking a shorter backswing to play a bump-and-run shot.

But when your ball is in the deep rough, you have just one objective: Get it out with one shot, making sure you limit mistakes to avoid big numbers on the scorecard. Of course, this is easier said than done.

The reason why it’s difficult to hit a good shot from thick, unruly, intimidating rough is that many players don’t choose the right club. Oftentimes, it’s because we want to stay aggressive and go for the hero shot, thinking we’ll get lucky and avoid an added stroke or two.

But if you want to lower scores, it means being smarter and taking what the course gives you in this scenario — and it all starts with choosing the right club.

So how do you determine the best club option for escaping deep rough and returning your ball to safety? Below, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone says it starts with asking just one simple question — and once you determine this, you can play your shot with confidence.

Ask yourself this before hitting out of deep rough

Miss the fairway and find yourself in deep rough? Here’s a quick problem-solving guide for you the next time you miss the fairway.

According to Stone, the only question you need to ask yourself is this: “Can I see more than half of my golf ball?”

Golf ball in heavy rough
How to attack a shot from heavy rough (and the best club to use)
By: Jessica Marksbury , Tina Tombs, Top 100 Teacher

“If the answer is yes, then you hit the jackpot,” she says. “Your ball is sitting up, meaning you now have the green light to hit the club you normally would from that yardage. So if you’re 120 yards away from the green, hit the club that carries 120 yards and enjoy the slightly teed-up ball.”

Now, the opposite is true if you can’t see more than half of the ball.

“If the answer is no, you need to revisit your club selection and yardage since you now have a buried lie,” Stone says. “From this type of lie, you’ll need to use one of your more lofted clubs in order to dig this ball from out of the grass, like the sand wedge, pitching wedge or lob wedge.”

Once you determine which higher-lofted wedge you’re using, Stone explains how to prepare to hit the shot.

“Take some practice swings and make sure you actually rip up some grass,” she says. “Most golfers only skim the grass. But if you do this during your actual shot, you’ll likely top the ball. Once you’ve got a feel for the grab of the grass, start to look for the shortest route back to the fairway. Most of us would love to advance this ball as far as we can, but you’ll want to return to safety as fast as possible and avoid coming up short, leaving yourself in the rough for your next shot.”

Now that you’ve planned your strategy, Stone says to check your aim and approach your ball with confidence.

“The grass will tend to grab the club and force the face to close,” she adds. “So aim slightly right of your target (for right-handed golfers) and swing with some aggressiveness.”

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