Getting Out of “Rough” Places
In heaven, when you hit a golf ball, it will land on Cavalier Zoysia, every time. It will be just like the fairways at Stoney Creek’s famous Tuckahoe course. In golf heaven, the lie in the fairway will always be perfect, sitting up on top of the grass, ready to be crushed with an iron or a wood. And in golf heaven, every swing will be perfect.
Down here on earth, it’s a little different. Balls, no matter how well they are struck, don’t always land on Zoysia, bent grass or Bermuda fairways. Lurking beside the fairways on most golf courses is the rough – the devil’s work, no doubt. In the rough, the grass is thick, so thick that the average golfer can spend a lot of energy trying to get the ball out of the high grass back onto the fairway where it belongs.
But exactly how does a weekend golfer – those ladies and guys who are most apt to find trouble off the fairways – get out of the rough without an “expletive deleted” tirade or slinging a five iron towards the closest water hazard?
It’s all in the technique, says Geoff Redgrave, Director of Golf at Stoney Creek Golf Club at Wintergreen Resort.
Geoff’s first bit of advice is to use good golf course management – a foreign term to many duffers and some scratch golfers as well. Good golf course management means using your head and not knocking 9 consecutive balls in the lake ala Roy McElroy (Kevin Costner) in the classic golf movie, Tin Cup.
“Don’t let one shot cost you two,” Geoff advises.
So it costs you one shot with that slice off the tee into the rough. Get it out of there in one, not two or three, and keep your game under control.
All three 9-hole courses at Stoney Creek – Monocan, Shamokin and Tuckahoe – have beautiful fairways, and many holes have thick rough in front and to the sides of the safe landing areas. But in most cases, the rough is not so unmanageable that you can’t make a good recovery.
Here’s how, says Redgrave.
First, find the ball. Pay attention to where it enters the rough and mark it as best you can. Once you locate the ball, analyze the situation carefully. “Remember that the thicker the grass, the more the shot will be a recovery back to the fairway,” Geoff says.
If it’s lodged deep, just get it out. Don’t worry about a miraculous shot to the green.
In all cases, move the ball back in your stance. This allows the club to strike the ball first, not the thick grass.
“Use a more lofted club,” Geoff suggests. “Hybrids work great if the lie isn’t too bad.”
Approaching the ball, position your hands more forward. Geoff teaches. He also suggests a three-quarters swing, which will help keep your balance and maintain better control during the swing.
With good course management, the right club, good hand position and the ball at the back of your stance, a golf shot into the rough may turn out better than you thought.
A great place to learn more about things like getting out of “rough places” is at the Wintergreen Golf Academy. For more information on the Wintergreen Golf Academy or Wintergreen Resort, go to www.wintergreenresort.com. For golf information or tee times, call 434-325-8250.