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Have you ever found yourself having to hit a ball out of the rough? Did you wonder what to do? Well, if you're a high or even mid handicapper, you'll end up hitting more shots from some form of rough than any other single type of lie.

Here's what can happen when you try to hit out of the rough:

- Grass comes between the clubhead and the ball, making clean contact difficult and reducing backspin

- Clubhead speed is reduced

- The clubhead or shaft may become caught in the grass on its descent, causing the club face to twist closed

- Grass in front of the ball can provide extra friction, further reducing the distance the ball will fly

- The first three generate a lower ball flight, making it more difficult to "stick" a shot onto the green. The third one can also send the ball off line.

However, if the rough is short enough, sometimes the only noticeable effect is reduced backspin. But in most cases, some fairly universal rules can be applied to shots from the rough.

- Use a short to mid-iron (5 iron or shorter) to help cut through the grass

- Take a couple of practice swings through nearby rough to give yourself a feel for how much the grass is going to resist your swing.

- Place the ball further back in your stance to promote a more vertical downswing, decreasing the resistance of the grass in your swing path

- Choke down on the club for greater control

- Swing hard, and maintain a full follow-through to get the club all the way through the rough

If the rough is thick or the ball is deep, get the ball back to the fairway rather than trying to do too much and finding yourself in worse shape on the next shot.

One thing that separates the pros from the amateurs is knowing when to swallow their medicine and take that one extra stroke to get back into position. Better to take a bogey (or give yourself an outside shot at par) than to risk double-bogey or worse on a prayer of a shot from the weeds.
 
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