How to Play the Rough: Introduction for New Golfers

play-golf-from-the-deep-Rough-2Most of us have hit an errant tee shot and found ourselves in the rough. The grass in the rough varies from course to course and depends on the geographical location of the course. The rough on a links course in Scotland will be different from that of a course in Florida, for instance.

The rough is designed to punish a golfer for a wayward shot — but what is the most difficult rough a golfer will encounter out on the course? Here, we take a look:

The first cut of rough

The first cut of rough is right next to the smooth grass of the fairway. The grass here is left to grow slightly longer than the fairway. The first cut is easily identifiable when you walk around a course, or watch golf on the television. The difference in grass height is what gives a golf course its striking beauty. The first cut is designed to give the golfer a harder shot than a shot from the fairway. The grass is longer — so the ball may lie unevenly — making the shot more difficult. In reality, most golfers should have no problem with a shot from the first cut, as it is designed to be pretty forgiving.

  • The second cut of rough

You’ve guessed it, the second cut of rough demands a harder shot than the first cut. Here, the grass is kept longer; and in certain parts of the second cut the grass may be left to grow naturally and not be cut at all. A golfer who finds their ball in the second cut will have a difficult shot that will take a lot of skill to get the ball in a good position.

The problem with hitting a shot from the second cut is that the club will come into contact with thick grass before it hits the ball. The golfer has to factor that into the speed of the swing. It is not an easy thing to do, and often the best option is to just ‘lay up’ onto the fairway, costing valuable yards.

  • Wild, natural and unmaintained rough

How to Play the RoughYou really don’t want to find yourself in this stuff. I was talking about grass with a golfer friend of mine, and he damaged his wrist playing out of unmaintained grass on a links course in Scotland. In certain parts of the golf course, the grass may be left to grow wild and natural.

You normally have to hit a really bad shot to end up in this kind of rough. Because the grass is so long, it is almost impossible to get good contact with the ball. Often, the only option is to ‘hack’ it out — and hope you land on the fairway and not the second cut! Golfers have to be careful when playing a shot out of thick rough, because it is often very strong and swinging into it can damage the golfers wrists.

As we can see, the golf course punishes the golfer depending on how good or bad the shot was. An off target shot is rewarded with a hard shot from long grass, and the very real possibility of a bogie, or worse. It really pays to hit the ball straight!