Accuracy off the tee has been a necessity this week at the Tour Championship, as the rough at East Lake is deep, thick and challenging.
Driving the ball in the fairway is obviously a great start to playing well on any course, but inevitably even tour players are going to find the rough from time to time, as will you. And when playing out of thick rough there are a few important things for an average player to keep in mind.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you take enough loft to get the ball out of the lie you’ve drawn and back into good position.
If you have a terrible lie, or even a marginal one, take your medicine, grab a lofted club, and put the ball back in play. Trying to be too ambitious can lead to an unnecessary big number that can ruin a round.
It’s also important to make a steeper swing, or what is sometimes referred to as a “V” swing, which will create a sharper angle of attack to the ball. This will help you avoid hitting a lot of grass behind the ball and getting your club stuck before or at impact.
To create this steeper angle of attack, start with your weight more forward at address. At the start of your takeaway, move the clubhead up abruptly rather than keeping the club low going back and continue to keep your weight on your front foot.
On the downswing, keep your trailing elbow close to your body and rotate through to the target. Use your body rotation and not just your hands to force the club through the rough.
And finally, long, thick grass typically will wrap around the hosel and twist the clubface closed at impact, making it easy to pull shots way off line, so consider the following options to keep that from happening.
It’s okay to grip the club a bit tighter when you’re in a thick lie, as this will help keep the club from twisting in your hands at impact.
Another option is to rotate the clubface slightly open and re-grip the club that way at address. This effectively will give you a head start in case the clubface twists closed at impact.
Keep these thoughts in mind the next time you find yourself in deep, thick rough and you’ll be able to recover more successfully.