21September2017

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Let’s face it, the rough will never disappear, so you may as well get used to handling it. In fact, with the right attitude playing in the rough can be quite an adventure, for unexpected things sometimes happen whilst there. Greg Norman claims that he can hit the ball longer and straighter from the rough than from anywhere. Whether you want to emulate him or not, you’ll get plenty of practice to do so as you continue your golf.

Most lies in the rough are known as fliers, due to their tendency to go a lot further than you planned for.

This is because the long blades of grass get between your   club and the ball preventing the usual friction and backspin. Without backspin your ball flies on forever and when it does roll, it just keeps on keeping on. The thing to do is use less club than you would for a fairway shot of the same length. It is not recommended to use any of your long-shafted steep-faced clubs for hitting a flier as they don’t’ handle the long grass as well as the shorter clubs. The middle to short clubs are the ones to use from the rough - they’ll give you all you need to get out of it. 1, 2 and 3-irons or woods are too long for the rough. 

To hit a flier, you need to use a technique that will minimize the impact of the long grass.

Move the ball a bit further back in your stance than normal and your back swing should be more vertical to give you a steeper return. This will make the clubface to come down cleanly on the ball rather than swinging through the grass. There is no need to hit the ball any harder than you normally would. This small change is all you need to fly out of that long grass.

If your ball is almost hidden in thick grass, it will not be a flier. With the correct technique your ball will float out of there rather like a helium balloon – only not as high.

The pitching wedge is usually the best choice for this shot and you’ll need to grasp it firmly, open your stance and align your club head square to the target line. The grass will usually grab the club and close the face. Sometimes you could try aiming the clubface slightly right of the target at address and this will allow for the grass to turn the face into square on impact.

One other lie is worth mentioning though it’s rather less common than the others. It’s called a perch lie where the ball is perched on top on a tussock of grass. When you examine the lie, be careful not to dislodge the ball or it will cost you a penalty shot. Use a low wide sweep, pretending that the ball is on the tee. Just make sure you don’t touch the club to the ground behind the ball as this action might also dislodge the ball.

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