How to escape thick rough

Escape Plan: Learn a technique to cheat thick greenside rough 

Fault: Getting the club head snagged in problematic as more force is needed to thick rough

Fix: Create a steep attack… and maintain wrist hinge.

The one bad thing about the return of the sun is that the rough starts to thicken up. Routine greenside rough escapes suddenly become more get the club through the tangled grass; often this leads to an uncertain jab, the club getting snagged and the ball failing to emerge.

To beat thick rough, you need a technique that keeps loft on the face while minimising grass caught between ball and clubface. Here’s how it works.

Through impact: Hold on!

Apart from the steeper attack, the key to success is to develop a strong lead wrist through the ball. A strong wrist keeps the handle ahead of the blade, forcing the club through the grass without the face turning over. Grip firmer with the gloved hand to help you.

Effective Practice

Make practice swings in similar rough to feel how strongly the rough wants to grab the club. As you follow through, feel that extra grip pressure keep the lead wrist flat and firm. When you’re confident you can keep the speed in the club through the grass, play the shot. 

Now follow these three steps. . .


1. Set-up: get forward

Play the ball in the centre of your stance. Set weight forward until the centre of your chest is slightly forward of the ball. These moves create shaft lean and a steeper attack. Open the face to counter the rough’s tendency to twist it shut.

2. Backswing: keep it steep

Let an early and abrupt wrist cock shape your backswing. A steep attack minimises rough between ball and club, and a steep backswing sets this up. Aim to create a 90o angle between lead arm and shaft. Minimise weight transfer.

3. Attack: maintain the angle

As you unwind, focus on maintaining that 90o angle. Let your chest and lower body transfer forward and rotate more than usual; it sees the club release later in the downswing, meaning you can get the clubhead closer to the ball.


This tip is brought to you by Kevin Hale, who is a high performance coach based in Birmingham and part of our TG Top 50. Coach to former British Amateur champion Bradley Neil


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