It happens to all of us! At some point, your golf ball will end up in a bad lie….in the rough. A shot from the rough is hit like a regular golf shot, with a couple of adjustments due to the lie and height/thickness of the grass. Consider these adjustments that just might give you (with practice) the confidence to get out of trouble on the golf course. Playing from the rough is tough, but it is a reality for all golfers. Here’s how to do it:

Cristie Kerr Womens Golf playing out of the rough
Cristie Kerr planning her shot out the rough

1. Stand Close and Tall At Address

Standing more upright and close to the ball will create a more upright swing plane. This might help the golf club to grab less grass on the downswing.

Jane Park Womens Golf
Jane Park

2. Open The Clubface

Opening the clubface will give the shot more loft and could prevent the clubface from closing so quickly when the long grass grabs the club, often shutting the clubface down resulting in a pulled shot. A shot staying online is the other result of opening the clubface at address.

3. Play The Ball Back In Your Stance

Playing the ball back in your stance will promote a steeper angle of approach and increase the likelihood of making better ball/club contact without catching too much grass.

4. Adjust Your Grip

After putting your hands on the golf club with an open face, firm up your grip pressure so that the club won’t turn over when the club grabs grass on the downswing. This could help prevent the ball from pulling left.

RACV ALPG tour - David Burness
Florentyna Parker – image: David Burness

5. Use A Steep Angle Of Approach

This shot will require a more “V” shaped swing which will produce a steeper angle of approach on the downswing, perhaps minimizing the amount of grass you catch before contacting the golf ball. Feel as though you are assertively hitting down and through…commit to this shot by rehearsing this assertive swing in some rough nearby so that you can sense the drag on the club when traveling through the deep stuff.

6. Adjust Your Club Selection Accordingly

A golf ball in the rough tends to result in less backspin when hit, resulting in a shot that travels farther and takes longer to stop. Adjust your club selection to allow for the added roll and distance.

7. Plan…Commit…Play

As with every shot you play, plan for the shot, commit to the shot, and play it as you planned. Trust and belief are necessary for success on every shot including the shots from the rough!


LPGA Master Professional Deb Vangellow teaches at Riverbend Country Club in Houston, Texas. She is the 2012 LPGA National Teacher Of The Year, an LPGA and Golf Digest Woman “Top 50” Teacher, a Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine “Top Regional Teacher”, a US KIDS GOLF “Top 50 Master Kids Teacher” and a GRAA “Top 50 Growth Of The Game Professional”.

LPGA Teaching and Club ProfessionalsDeb serves as the President of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals Membership and is a longtime lead instructor in the LPGA Global Education Program. An educator/coach who offers wellness based developmental programming integrated into her “student centered” philosophy, Deb can be reached at 281-277-4653 or followed online at www.debvangellowgolf.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.