5 Steps To Escape Thick Rough Without Bloating Your Score - Clarkes Golf

5 Steps To Escape Thick Rough Without Bloating Your Score

Landing in thick rough is almost a guaranteed way to add an extra two, three, maybe four strokes to your score.

And it happens to every player.

We’ve all experienced, or watched someone experience the pain of hacking away at tall thick grass trying to eject our ball back into a reasonably playable position, all while adding countless strokes to our score.

But landing in thick rough doesn’t have to mean all hope is lost of rescuing the hole, even your round.

Here are some great golf tips on how to escape the thick grass without bloating your score.

1. Aim slightly right of your target

One factor many golfers forget when in deep rough is that tall grass can alter the clubface’s position.

Passing through grass could force your club face to close slightly, resulting in the ball heading left of where you wanted.

To solve this, aim slightly right of your intended target.

This won’t reduce the effect the grass has on the clubhead but it should counteract it to a degree and give you a more favourable shot.

2. Choose the right club

If you’ve landed in the thick rough off the tee, chances are you’ve still got a long way to go until the green.

Looking at the remaining distance, some golfers may be tempted to reach for a long iron or a wood and hope for the best.

But these clubs will do no good if the ball is significantly buried beneath the grass.

The best clubs to use in these situations are undoubtedly clubs with plenty of loft, like short irons or wedges.


The angle on the clubhead will help it cut through the grass and launch the golf ball upward, hopefully with enough force to eject it from its grassy prison.

Sure, you’ll lose a few yards, but it’s well worth it if your ball is playable again.

3. Make sure your grip is extra tight

Plenty of golf pros like to spout the dangers of holding your club too tightly. But this is one of the situations where a tighter-than-average grip is useful.

As we discussed before, when your club enters the grass before impact, that grass will do everything it can to alter your club face and mess up your shot.

Gripping your club tighter than usual will help negate some of that interference, keeping the clubface at your desired angle as much as possible.

Remember, this is about disaster recovery, we’re not looking for nuance in this situation - so hold on tight and swing.

4. Position the ball towards the back of your stance

In a standard golf swing, your club will span several inches close to the ground before and after the ball has been struck.

But this doesn’t work for a ball that’s trapped in thick rough.

Using your usual swing will result in the club catching the grass several inches behind the ball, preventing you from hitting the ball cleanly with full force (if you even get to the ball).

Many new golfers have experienced this, swinging in the normal stance only to see the ball travel a few inches and stay in the rough.

To reduce the amount of time your club spends close to the ground, position the ball towards the back of your stance when you square up to the ball.

This forces your club head to strike the ball at a steeper angle in your swing and gives you the feeling of chopping downward on your ball.

This is what you want.

The less time your club spends in the grass, the less time it has to get stuck or for the grass to do any damage.

Your club may even halt completely after impact, with no follow-through whatsoever, depending on how far back in your stance the ball was or how deep it was buried. It won’t look pretty, but it should hopefully get the ball out.

Use this tip in conjunction with our previous tips and you’re giving yourself an excellent chance of saving your ball and your score.

5.Don’t be ashamed to chip out to the fairway

There are some lies that no amount of force, technique or loft could fix.

You might not be able to hit the full shot you wanted, but you may still be able to salvage something out of your situation.

If your ball looks like it’s buried in too much grass to hit will a full swing, your safest option is to try and chip it back onto the fairway.

Using a club with enough loft, like a wedge, aim to strike your ball back onto the fairway.

Pay no attention to distance here - focus on getting your ball onto the closest part of the fairway.

It might feel like a wasted shot, but you’ll be able to make up for the loss later in your game. 

Plus, you won’t waste any more time or shots trying to launch your ball back up the fairway from an impossible lie.

Practice your thick rough techniques at Clarkes Golf

If you want to brush up on all of the above techniques before heading onto the golf course, why not stop by Clarkes Golf?

Our 27-bay driving range is the perfect place to practice these types of shots and more to improve your game.

Or you can check out our incredible golf shop, home to plenty of stellar clubs, balls, accessories and more all from your favourite golf brands.

Find us at Mill Lane, Rainford, St Helens, WA11 8LN.