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Lessons from the pros: Hitting from deep rough

Many of us heard one like this before: an American golfer is on a golf trip in Scotland. He asks the old caddie “How do you deal with all the tall rough?” In a thick Scottish brogue the caddie replies “don’t hit in there, lad.”

Easier said than done, and the recent U.S. Open at Merion showed us how rough is one of those factors that protect the integrity of a golf course. So if you find yourself in the deep stuff, here are some things to remember.

Start by analyzing your lie and determine how much grass is surrounding the golf ball. If the golf ball is mostly above the blades of grass then let it rip, the grass will have a minor slowing down effect. Should the ball be mostly below the blades of grass then we have some adjustments to make.

• Keep the clubface square. Too many amateurs open the clubface incorrectly and as a result set the hosel as the leading portion of the clubhead during the swing. Grip more firmly. But do so without adding tension in the upper arms and shoulders.

• Swing steeply with the arms. This is why we don’t want tension. Focus on the clubhead making a pronounced upward takeaway in order to have a sharp angle of attack during the strike.

• Give yourself a firm base. Stay solid with your legs and feel them being nice and strong to support the arm swing.

• Use more loft. A lofty club is your friend when getting out of these situations. If you come up short your short game can save you.

Good luck and remember, practice, it helps.

Scott Arnold is the director of golf at Harvest Hill Golf Center. WNY PGA club pros will offer weekly tips in Wednesday’s editions of The News.