3 Tips For Playing Out Of Thick Rough

playing out of thick rough on the golf course

When playing out of thick rough, it’s important to know how to play the shot and also how the severity of the lie can effect it.

Before we get into detail, there’s one key element you need to focus on for consistent striking with your irons. In order to get a solid strike, we need to have an Attack Angle. We measured the ideal attack angle, using TrackMan, as being between 3 and 7 degrees down when striking the ball – depending on the player. This means that the club head is descending at the moment of impact between 3 and 7 degrees.

We can improve our attack angle by changing our set-up. By moving the ball further back in the stance, and putting more weight on the front leg, we’ll cause the attack angle to steepen. Imagine you’re in deep rough and you have a lie with lots of grass behind the ball – you need a steeper attack angle to get a more solid strike on the ball. You’ll generally find that golfers with steep downswings have a higher chance of achieving a solid strike than golfers with shallower swings.

So, here’s some ideas for your set-up depending on the lie.

Fairway Lie

  • 55% of the weight on the lead side
  • Ball position: normal

Many of the best players in the world start with slightly more weight favouring the lead side rather than the standard 50/50.

Playing the golf ball out of fairway rough and lies

Semi-to-heavy Rough and Into the Grain Lie

  • 70% of the weight on the lead side
  • Ball position: in the centre of the stance

In this situation, we’d steepen the attack angle even further in order to miss the rough behind the ball as much as possible. This is especially useful when the ball is lying against the grain of the grass. When hitting against the grain of the grass, the club head will slow down, so it’s important to get a steeper attack angle and limit the effect of the rough.

When swinging, you may want to shorten the length of the backswing and through-swing to create a punch shot feeling. This isn’t always necessary and takes some practise to get it right. It’s also worth choosing a slightly more lofted club than usual, as the ball could have a slightly lower trajectory and will come out of the rough with less backspin


Playing golf ball out of semi to deep rough and into the grain LIE

Deep Rough Lie

  • 80% of the weight on the lead side 
  • Ball position: back near the trail foot

The objective of hitting your shot out of the deep rough is simple: just get it out. You’ll need to use one of your most lofted clubs.

The backswing will have more wrist set – by using more wrists during the backswing, you’ll help create the steepest angle possible. When in such thick, long rough – and because of the steepness of the backswing and downswing – you probably won’t have much of a follow-through. Because of this, you’ll need to grip the club tighter in order to control the club face.

Remember, under no circumstances should you try to lift the ball out of the rough. Trust the loft and hit down hard. Your one goal is to make sure you get the ball back in play – it won’t look the prettiest, but this shot has to be effective.

Playing golf ball out of DEEP rough

Let us know how you get on in the comments or send us a message on social. Good luck and happy golfing! 




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  1. The Viscount

    Hi Guys. I have only recently joined, so for the moment at least I am like kid in a lolly shop. This seems quite good & I will keep it in mind should the situation arise. For the moment I am tryi…

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    1. Andy

      Thanks for the comment! We wouldn’t say dropping the arms from the top. The body really pulls the arms down, this really helps create some speed and power.

  2. fglazener

    Used to have terrible problems getting out of our tough rough. Problem solved. Golf is really simple when you know how it works! 🙂

  3. Max

    Hi guys, thanks for the great videos. As an infrequent golfer I try to have some basics notes of what I should be practising before taking my shots depending on the club and type of shot.. I’ve brok…

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    1. Andy

      Hi Max. Thanks so much for the comment and great question. That is also a great question. He are my thoughts. For most irons the intention should be very similar. The only slight change will be stance…

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