How to Hit Out of the Rough

To help improve your chances of success next time you find yourself in the rough, follow these Pro Tips to successfully play your way to the green.

March 30, 2018

While it's every golfer's goal to split the fairway off the tee, sometimes the shots don't turn out according to plan. Shots that go offline commonly end up in the rough, but adjusting your swing accordingly can help you escape the long grass and end up on the right track.

These Pro Tips can help you play shots out of the rough and get your ball where you want it to go.


The club you choose for this shot will largely depend on your lie, which is how the ball came to rest after landing.

The lengths of rough are classified into “cuts.”

“First cut” is located just off the fairway and is the shortest length of rough.

“Second cut” is farther away from the fairway and the grass is a bit longer.

The problem with finding the rough is that your ball can sometimes lie deeper in the grass, which can make it harder to make optimal contact and lift the ball into the air with accuracy.

If you have drawn a “good lie,” your ball is sitting more toward the top of the grass. In this situation, you have the ability to select a wider range of clubs based on the distance between your ball and the hole. Most irons and lower-profile hybrids are suitable for use when you have a good lie in the rough.

If you have drawn a “bad lie,” your ball is buried in the rough and surrounded by grass. In this situation, your club selection is limited, because clubs with larger profiles won’t dig into the grass to achieve optimal contact with the ball. You’ll want to select a higher-lofted iron, regardless of your distance from the hole, in order to get yourself out of the rough and back into play.


When playing shots out of the rough, you want to hold the grip firmly and slightly lower, away from the butt end. Making these changes can help you maintain control of the clubface, as grass may turn the club in your hands before impacting the ball.

Next, stand with the ball toward the back of your stance, closer to your back leg. Putting the ball farther back in your stance can limit the amount of grass that gets trapped between the clubface and the ball at impact, which can lead to reduced launch and accuracy. So hit the ball from farther back to help avoid this common problem.


In order to avoid the drag caused by hitting your ball out of longer grass, create a steeper angle of attack during your downswing. Steepening your attack angle limits the amount of interaction your club has with the grass and promotes quicker golf ball launch for optimal flight. To accomplish this, keep the ball toward the back of your stance and put a little less turn in your hips during the swing.

Also, if you have trouble keeping your clubface square, slightly open or close the face prior to taking your swing in order to accommodate for the twisting caused by longer grass. Again, keep the length of the grass in mind, since longer grass can potentially cause more turn than shorter grass.

So the next time your ball lands in the rough, keep calm and remember to consider your club selection, your grip and stance, and modify your swing. With these tips in mind, you’ll be building the skills needed to hit out of the rough while saving valuable strokes every round.