So you’ve missed the fairway again. Now let’s focus on not compounding that error, shall we? Photo by Sven Clement/Common License

Don’t swing harder in the rough, swing smarter

So…you’ve missed the fairway again. Now what?

So, you’ve missed the fairway (again).

What you don’t want to do now, says Jason Tchir, head professional at Quadra Golf, is compound your mistake by not playing your shot out of the rough properly.

“It’s all about the lie,” Tchir says. “The first thing you want to do is look at how bad the situation is. If your ball is sitting down in the rough, you’ve got a lot more grass that can potentially get in between your club face and the golf ball on contact, so it’s advisable to take one more club, but the most important thing, as with all iron shots, you want to be making sure you’re making contact hitting down on that golf ball and pinching it down into the turf.”

Although he admits that’s easier said than done out of the rough.

“Sure, it’s a lot easier to do that off the fairway than it is when you’re fighting through three inches of grass to get down to the ball, but you just have to know that your contact isn’t going to be as crisp and clean as it otherwise would be and adjust for that,” Tchir says.

“A lot of people get into the rough and grab the same club they would if they were in the fairway and just try to hit it harder. Well, swinging harder doesn’t lead to better results, as anyone who has played this game for any length of time will be able to tell you. It’s really about making solid contact with the 95 per cent swing instead of taking the 110 per cent swing you maybe want to make when you’re looking down at the ball in the grass.”

But what about when the ball isn’t sitting way down in the grass? What’s this “flying lie” you hear about sometimes?

“If I’m approaching my golf ball and it’s in that same three inches of rough, but it’s sitting up almost like it’s on a tee, where there is plenty of air underneath it – especially if the grass that’s there is pointed towards your target – that’s a good indication to me that I’ve got a flier and that thing is going to come out pretty hot,” Tchir says.

If that’s the case, there’s less physical resistance between either the ball and your club or the ball and the grass in front of it, and it will act just like it would if it was coming off a tee, so you should play it the same way.

“You could maybe even play one less club in that case, because your club is actually going to be propelled through the golf ball by the grass it’s sliding across instead of digging into,” he says.

So the key to hitting the ball out of the rough is figuring out – before you even choose a club – what the rough is going to do to the ball, your club and your impact, because there are plenty of different factors that come into play.

What you don’t want to do is compound your error, Tchir says. Just because you missed the fairway by a few yards doesn’t mean you’re out of the hole – unless you don’t pay attention to your next shot before you play it.