Rough and Tough

Instruction

Several lies, especially those in fluffy grass, can be difficult

 

Outside of the putting green and tee box, the lie you receive is the first indication of the shot you should play. It’s been my experience that when you go against what the lie offers, your intended shot rarely turns out. As well, your commitment level to the shot isn’t 100 percent. Therefore, the combination of trying a shot that the lie doesn’t offer and not being fully committed is not a recipe for success.

This scenario is very apparent around the greens. This year our courses at the Four Seasons Resort and Club grew rough between 1½ to 2 inches around the greens. This type of rough made it more difficult to get the ball up and down.

The shot that caused a lot of difficulty occurred when the ball didn’t fall completely to the bottom of the rough and it was suspended somewhere in the middle of the grass. If you played it like a normal shot, you ran the risk of going underneath the ball and fluffing it only a few feet. Even our low handicap golfers were confused on how to execute this type of lie successfully.

The solution to this lie is two-fold. First, realize that the ball is now closer to you than it would be if it was touching the ground. Therefore, you need to shorten the club you use by choking down. Gauge how much the ball is suspended and choke down accordingly on the grip. This helps balance out the difference.

When you choke down you must also increase your knee flex and bend from the waist at address. This helps add balance to your swing motion.

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Second, address the golf ball differently. When the ball rests on the ground address it accordingly; when the ball is suspended in the grass you must address it with your clubhead even with the ball. This will help you understand at what level you need to swing the club through the grass. If the clubhead swings all the way down to the bottom of the ground, you’ll run the risk of going underneath the ball. This is also why you get the ball mark very high on the clubface.

Basically, play the shot the same way you normally would out of the rough. I like to see a little weight toward the left side, the ball slightly back of center and the hands forward at address. This set-up helps create a descending blow on the ball. The angle the set-up creates is important out of the rough, as it allows you to minimize the amount of grass you get in between the clubface and ball.

As you create impact and move to the finish, make sure the lower body turns through with the shot. This feeling will help minimize the risk of scooping the ball with the right hand and the contact will be more consistently solid.

Remember to always analyze your lie before playing any shot. You will need to make slight adjustments when the scenario isn’t perfect, but noticing subtle differences in the ground and lie can make a huge difference in the outcome of the shot.

Scorecard: 

▶ The combination of trying a shot that the lie doesn’t offer  and not being fully committed is not a recipe for success.

▶ The shot that causes a lot of difficulty is when the ball doesn’t fall completely to the bottom of the rough and is suspended somewhere in the middle of the grass.

▶ When the ball rests on the ground address it accordingly; when the ball is suspended in the grass you must address it with your club head even with the ball.

By: Tim Cusick

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