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In and Out of Golf Trouble

On a golf course, as a rule, golf trouble comes at us swiftly and unexpectedly.

There are times when we do not quite expect to carry a brook or a cross trap, or when we know we can easily miss a green with a wood or a long iron. Then we are not surprised when we find ourselves in difficulties.

But much more often we stand on a tee, with a wide fairway beckoning, swing — and find ourselves in the woods or heavy rough.

Generally, there are three kinds of trouble we can reach with a shot off the fairway: woods, rough, or a fairway trap.

The first thought in each case should be to get out of golf trouble, whatever it is.

Good golf players have often made great shots from seemingly impossible positions.

That's fine, for them. But not for you.

Woods and Rough

In the woods, unless you are extremely deep, there is an opening of some sort.

Play out through it, even if you have to play the shot back toward the tee. But get out on the fairway.

If, by any chance, you are going to make a great shot, the fairway is the place to do it, not the woods. Any golf club that will get you out safely is the club to use.

From the rough, much depends on the distance you can safely try for and still get the golf ball into the fairway.

Rough is of almost an infinite variety, from thin, short, scraggly grass, which often gives you a lie no worse than one in the fairway, through short, dense, clinging grass to high grass and weeds.

There is probably no rough so thick that a golf ball cannot be extricated from it and delivered a short distance with a sand wedge.

The trouble with us is that we try to get real distance from the rough and often wind up with the ball advanced only a few yards and still in the long grass.

In making almost any shot from long or heavy grass, the point to remember is that we must hit down on the ball with a golf club lofted enough to be sure we get the ball out, regardless of distance.

To get a sharp downward stroke we will make it easy for ourselves if we play the ball back to a point midway between our feet and, if the grass is at all heavy, take a slightly more upright golf swing.

It is impossible to give any rules as to what golf club should be used. That depends entirely on the texture and height of the grass, the lie of the ball, and the distance you think you can get while still, with safety, getting clear of the rough.

You should remember, though, that if an iron is used the golf ball will come out with less backspin on it— even none at all — and therefore will run farther than you expect.

This is because the grass, getting between the ball and the face of the club, reduces the golf club's "grip," the normal friction between ball and club face.

A shot from the rough is less likely to hold a green but it will pick up distance on a fairway.

It is also worth mentioning that surprising success is quite often possible with a No. 4 wood, if the lie is not bad.

The more rounded head of the wooden golf club slips through the grass more easily than the bar like head of an iron. The latter catches a lot of grass, slowing the speed and cushioning the blow.

That is why, with the irons, we strike a more sharply descending blow in the rough, to get as little grass as possible between the golf club face and the ball.

Learn more ways to tackle down your golf troubles, including:

  • Fairway Traps
  • Golf Obstructions
  • Golf: Lies of All Kinds

You can have access to these chapters in the complete and New Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf!

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