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Ball in the thick rough - what club do you pick?


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I'm not sure some people on here have ever played from thick rough. Thick rough is a wedge.

Foot wedge.

I use my foot to kick back into the fairway and then just play my normal club for whatever the yardage is.

Wedge. Take your medicine! A low-lofted club will get caught up in long rough more than a higher-lofted club. Think of your angle of descent relative to your club's loft (especially if you come at it steeper since it's buried). The more loft, the less the face will be square to the grass, causing less resistance through to the ball. Also - MUSCLE-UP, keep your wrists strong.

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> @Nixhex524 said:

> > @Yepyukon said:

> > Judging by several of the responses, I am not sure a lot of people know what "course management" means.

>

> Care to elaborate?

>

> Always depends on yardage but if it's a really poor lie and is going to take a miracle to get it on or close to the green, just get it back in play and live to fight another day.

 

Just reading a lot of post about people thinking they are going to hit a miraculous shot into the green after they just missed a massive fairway (assuming normal fairway size). The OP stated "thick rough". To me, that means rough that you nearly cannot find your ball in until you step on it. If that is what was referred, then taking a wedge and putting it back into play is course management. Trying to pull off the hero shot - while fun - can lead to a really big number and is generally not the smart play.

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My course has an extremely long, double-dogleg par 5. Really long hitters can cut the first dogleg and make the hole play a good bit shorter, but most of us don't have that option. The tee shot is particularly brutal for those, like me, who tend to fade/slice the ball. Going right makes this already long hole play even longer, and the rough on the right side can be brutal. It's not uncommon for me to find my ball sitting down in thick rough and still needing to cover about 375 yards to get to the green. So I'm wondering how this scenario would affect peoples' decision making - would you still wedge out from a really bad lie knowing how much of the hole is still left to negotiate? Thinking about it now, it seems like that is still the smart play, especially as trying to go after it with a hybrid brings other potential disasters like OB into play, but it's tough for me in the moment to take my medicine and accept that I'll still have no chance to be able to go for the green with my third shot.

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The first time I was really close to PGA Tour golfers was when I marshaled a couple of US Open practice rounds at Congressional, in 1997. The rough that year was brutal, 4 to 6 inches. During the practice rounds, the players would try their "normal" club from the deep rough, then a couple of clubs down, all the way to wedges. I saw a couple of mid-irons that only went 15 or 20 yards, so it's obviously really tough no matter how well you play. They had to learn what they could (and couldn't) do, and its just the same for you. If you can practice from deep rough, try a few options, so you learn about different lies and different clubs. For me, the most important thing is to advance the ball into a "good" location. The deeper the rough, and the longer the club, the more difficult that becomes. I'm not embarrassed at all when I need to hit a sand wedge from 120 yards, knowing I'm going to come up short.

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I usually hit PW out just to get back into play. If I'm playing a course with crazy rough like Torrey I will also ditch my driving iron for an old bio-cell hybrid which I can usually trundle forward with a steep AOA if I have a really long way in and need to advance out of thick stuff, but that is still admittedly not the smart play.

 

> @clp34vmp said:

> My course has an extremely long, double-dogleg par 5. Really long hitters can cut the first dogleg and make the hole play a good bit shorter, but most of us don't have that option. The tee shot is particularly brutal for those, like me, who tend to fade/slice the ball. Going right makes this already long hole play even longer, and the rough on the right side can be brutal. It's not uncommon for me to find my ball sitting down in thick rough and still needing to cover about 375 yards to get to the green. So I'm wondering how this scenario would affect peoples' decision making - would you still wedge out from a really bad lie knowing how much of the hole is still left to negotiate? Thinking about it now, it seems like that is still the smart play, especially as trying to go after it with a hybrid brings other potential disasters like OB into play, but it's tough for me in the moment to take my medicine and accept that I'll still have no chance to be able to go for the green with my third shot.

 

 

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> @MtlJeff said:

> At Torrey I hit gap wedge from 180 out of the rough a couple of times LoL

>

> When rough is that bad just advance it into the fairway and wedge it in

 

Glad I saw this. Im playing Torrey south at the end of the month

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> @jjfcpa said:

> Played a round yesterday and found my ball in some very thick rough. Grass was almost like crab grass and about 4 - 5 inches deep. I was about 150 from the green and decided to go with a 5 iron. Could not get the club on the ball directly and when I swung, the grass just completely grabbed the club and the ball went maybe 30 - 40 yards. On second thought, I think I should have chosen a different club.. perhaps a hybrid. What would you have chosen.

 

Its not the club, its the technique. Imagine a clock around the ball, where 12 and 6 are on your target line - 6 at the rear of the ball and 12 at the front, so 9 is pointing right at you. Most players are used to coming into the ball at 6 o'clock without shaft lean. You can get away with that on a clean lie - you add loft, but you can still hit the ball even if you don't compress it. The problem is that in deep rough you can't come in like that - the grass is in the way. You have to have a *much* steeper angle of attack. The more its buried the steeper you have to be.

 

Because of a concept known as the D Plane (beyond this thread, but basically attack angle alters your club face and club path) you have to rotate much harder/faster through impact and come from much more inside. The steeper the swing the more out to in the swing path all else being equal.

 

If you swing normally one of two things will happen. One, you'll hit nothing but rough, and it will be like a bunker shot. It will go straight, just not very far. Two, you will sense you are going to hit rough and flip, the grass grabs the hosel of the club, and you hit a line drive left going left.

 

To prevent that and hit a good shot, you have to swing down steeply. Go into the ball at what feels like 7 or 8 or even 9 o'clock - from the inside - but turn your body much faster. The face will stay open much longer in the downswing and the club will come in way steeper so it can actually hit ball-first. However, at impact, it will be identical to a normal shot - you don't need to take more club unless you can't perform the technique at speed.

 

I couldn't disagree more with the poster who advised putting the ball back in the stance. It seems like this would make sense, as your low point would be in front of the ball more, but the issue isn't low point. Its keeping the club head clear of the grass until it hits the ball. The only way to do that is to become much steeper into the ball. The low point doesn't matter. This is one reason grouping all shots into "bad lie" isn't smart. Moving the ball back helps you make contact but it actively hurts you when you are trying to avoid an obstacle (like grass) because it shallows the swing.

 

So, to hit it when its buried:

 

1. Close your stance. This will encourage a in-to-out swing path and cancel out some of the steepness.

2. Come into the ball at what feels like 8 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock. Feel like you are hitting the ball with the face wide open but use your body turn to counteract this.

3. Steepen your swing significantly (feet closer together, more wrist hinge, there are a lot of ways to do this)

4. Turn like an absolute m*****f****cker through the ball to square the face at the last second. If you square the fact like in a normal swing to 6 o'clock early you'll hit the grass.

 

A good downswing feel for this shot is to narrow your stance, hinge your wrists and then feel like you are elbowing someone behind you with your left elbow as hard as you can. The key to getting out of deep rough is to be steep, and the key to hitting it straight while steep is to be significantly from the inside and fast.

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From the description.....have lies like this occasionally at local course. Will use 58 & will have a steep angle of descent on the ball. The idea is to pop the ball up & out quickly. I normally will have the ball closer to my back foot & will vary the position & angle of the face of the club. First rule is how quickly I need to get the ball up; then if needing to keep it under any overhanging objects; then how far I need the ball to carry before it starts to run. Last is looking at the easiest place to get the ball to as opposed to where I would like to get the ball to. Majority of the time it is my 58, but have gone to an 8 at times when I am able to get some distance & hopefully run up to the green. What can make this funner....course is in National Forrest land. So you might only have one "hole" to try & get the ball thru. Beer does not help!

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Yesterday I hit a crappy drive on #18. Found my ball just far enough into deep rough to be problematic. Anyhow, had 190 yards in and mistakenly chose 4 iron knowing I wasn't going to reach the pin. Unfortunately, I proceeded to put a crappy swing on the ball and only got 75yards and now on a downhill lie, still in the rough to an elevated tight left pin. Again, a poor choice in club ended short of the green and up and down for double. Up to 18, I was doing fine, then one mental mistake on top of another. Major brain-fart hole. It happens to all of us.

 

Normally, club choice depends on how far I am from the green front, pin position, obstacles in between and if there's a bet. Typically, I take my medicine with a short iron of sorts and get up and down from there.

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> @Pepperturbo said:

> Yesterday I hit a crappy drive on #18. Found my ball just far enough into deep rough to be problematic. Anyhow, had 190 yards in and mistakenly chose 4 iron knowing I wasn't going to reach the pin. Unfortunately, I proceeded to put a crappy swing on the ball and only got 75yards and now on a downhill lie, still in the rough to an elevated tight left pin. Again, a poor choice in club ended short of the green and up and down for double. Up to 18, I was doing fine, then one mental mistake on top of another. Major brain-**** hole. It happens to all of us.

>

> Normally, club choice depends on how far I am from the green front, pin position, obstacles in between and if there's a bet. Typically, I take my medicine with a short iron of sorts and get up and down from there.

 

I just tried the 4 iron second shot from a bad lie in the rough today. And similarly was still in the rough for my third. I should've just got back in the fairway somewhere and moved on.

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> @Sweden_William said:

> I use my 23° hybrid for those shots.

 

If we're talking semi-rough, that seems reasonable. OP was asking about THICK rough, though. As for the latter, I usually hack at it with a PW. When it's less buried, a 7i max.

What I find very important is aiming correctly. I try to find the line that guarantees making it to the short grass but doesn't find the rough on the other side of the fairway should I get a flyer, which happens ever so often. Those are the mistakes that kill you.

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> @"Jakob 91" said:

> > @Sweden_William said:

> > I use my 23° hybrid for those shots.

>

> If we're talking semi-rough, that seems reasonable. OP was asking about THICK rough, though. As for the latter, I usually hack at it with a PW. When it's less buried, a 7i max.

> What I find very important is aiming correctly. I try to find the line that guarantees making it to the short grass but doesn't find the rough on the other side of the fairway should I get a flyer, which happens ever so often. Those are the mistakes that kill you.

 

I agree, aiming is critical. I've seen lots of folks still line up for the flag, hit a half-decent shot along that line, and end up in the heavy rough again. You have to aim kind of across the fairway most times. Coming from heavy rough, with even the shortest club, the variability in results will increase substantially, and you have to take that into account when selecting your intended line. Move the ball closer to the hole, and keep it out of trouble spots like bunkers and more heavy rough.

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For me, in that situation, ball position and attack angle are most important. I move it back in stance so i catch it early in the swing and get the sweet spot to it through as little grass as possible. I also club up, however I avoid the flat faced irons and opting for hybrids if I'm too far away. So, its like either shorter irons or hybrids, never a 5i 4i 3i.

 

The last thing: Hit that sonofabitch as hard as you can. Theres a certain threshold of swing speed, under which the thick grass will completely deny your clubhead. If you have a slow swing speed, move it back in your stance and use a hybrd, just try to get the sweet spot to the ball.

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I think most have covered it saying to use between 7i to SW. However, there's a riskier option if distance is required. Using a 3i-5i can work if you modify your setup. Biggest key is to hit steep down towards the ball. Any loop in the swing will catch grass before contact and ruin speed/direction. To negate the steep angle of attack, open the face and your stance. One swing thought would be to not allow your wrists to turn over. Keep the lead arm above the trail arm as long as possible. This will obviously produce a cut, but if executed, can produce a clean strike with more distance. Not a high percentage play, but a thought to consider at times!

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During my round yesterday, I watched my playing partner get into the same situation. Ball was in the thick rough about 5 - 6 yards off the fairway. I watched him hit the ball, which went about 40 yards and landed in the thick rough again. I asked him what club he hit and he said a 4 iron. He was about 200 from the green. I suggested next time he use a 8 or 9 iron and just try to get it back to the fairway and advance it about a 100 yards. he concurred. I hope I remember this the next time I get in the thick rough. Fortunately, yesterday I was finding nothing but fairways.

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