How Do I Hit a Golf Ball Out of Thick Grass?

Hitting out of the thick grass, or rough, can be a major challenge. It requires changing your swing to use power to get the ball out of danger. The golf ball may also be partially or totally obscured by the thick grass; that lack of a visible target may cause you to mishit. Knowing how to get under the ball and generate extra power may help you maneuver out of trouble.

  1. Compensate for the amount of power you'll lose in a swing in the rough with your club selection. You may want to add a club depending on distance. For example, if the ball is 120 yards out and you normally hit a 9-iron that distance, use an 8-iron instead. The extra power is required because a ball in the rough will be slowed by the thick grass as it gets airborne.

  1. Choke down on the club like a baseball batter chokes up on the bat. This means leaving space between the top of the club and the top hand of your grip. Choking down will create stability when you hit the ball. If you hold the club with your normal grip--near the top of it--the club head has a greater chance of shifting on impact, resulting in an offline or thin shot.

  1. Predict the amount of grass you'll trap between the ball and club face.

  2. If you don't trap a lot of grass when the club impacts the ball, you may catch the ball cleanly and hit a flier: a line drive that runs fast upon landing. Trapping a lot of grass in the rough results in a slower swing speed, which affects distance. The lie of the ball will determine the amount of backswing and club speed you create.

  1. Play the ball in the middle of your stance. This allows you to swing down on the ball and pinch it, causing it to lift.

  2. By playing the ball in the middle of the stance, you also help maintain balance. When playing a hybrid club, the ball should be an inch farther forward in the stance because hybrid club face angles are a little greater than the traditional long irons.

  1. Take a three-quarter backswing, keeping weight on your front foot. The goal is the catch the ball cleanly.

  2. Take a V-shaped swing when the ball is buried to try to loft the ball onto the fairway. You may not get a lot of distance but you are getting out of trouble and may save a few shots in the process.