5 ways to escape the worst rough on the golf course

Prime golf season means the cabbage is thick. Here's how to cut through it and shoot lower scores, courtesy of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and more.
Top pros like Rory McIlroy can escape long, thick rough with relative ease because they know what adjustments to make in order to hit the best possible shots from some of the worst lies.

I just got back from Ohio and boy are my wrists tired!

Living in Florida for nearly a decade, I have grown accustomed to the tufty, unpredictable nature of Bermuda rough, which can be a beast to hit out of. And frankly, on the courses I play, even the longer Bermuda rough is typically fairly dry; I'm almost never just hacking a ball out of it.

But between watching the 2023 PGA Championship and then taking a quick trip to Firestone Country Club, an exemplar of lush championship golf, I remembered just how nasty northern rough can be, and I realized how poorly prepared I was to face it. Several times, I had little choice but to just hack the ball forward and hope nothing bad happened. And around the greens, I hit some shockingly bad shots, costing me a lot of strokes.

The next time I head somewhere with similarly dense long grass lining the fairways, I won't make the same mistake. I'll be heeding the advice from these five tips from GolfPass' world-class archive of the best golf instruction videos on the internet.

Rory McIlroy on long irons from the rough

In the 2020 Tour Championship, Rory McIlroy hit one of the strangest shots of his career: a 4 iron from the rough on the 18th hole that plopped straight into the water 20 yards in front of him. In this segment from season 2 of Ask Rory, he reflects on the experience and gives some great advice that will help you avoid a similar mishap.

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Long Irons From The Rough

(Note: GolfPass+ members can submit their video questions for the upcoming season of 'Ask Rory' here.)

Rickie Fowler on fairway woods from the rough

Pulling a headcover off of a fairway wood while your ball is sitting in the rough may seem like a foolish move, but with just a couple of adjustments - both to your setup and your expectations - it can be a surprisingly effective shot. Rickie Fowler explains how.

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Fairway Woods from the Rough with Rickie Fowler

Steve Stricker on greenside chips from the rough

Stricker has one of the best short games on the planet, so it's no surprise that his advice for dealing with terrible greenside lies is clear, calm and effective.

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Tip 49 - Steve Stricker - How To Play From Greenside Rough

The Golf Fix's Devan Bonebrake on flyer lies and deep trouble

Sometimes, the most dangerous lie in the rough is one that doesn't look so bad. In this episode of The Golf Fix on trouble shots, host Devan Bonebrake talks both about flyer lies and really deep rough lies, including a tip Tiger Woods once gave Ken Griffey Jr.

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Trouble Shots – Dealing With Rough

RELATED: Click here to access all seasons of The Golf Fix.

Martin Chuck on short-sided rough situations

As much as we'd like to avoid it, we sometimes compound our errors with bad shots, putting ourselves in multiple predicaments at once. In this tip, Martin Chuck explains how to avoid making things even worse.

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Short Sided Pitch Shots from Thick Rough

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Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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5 ways to escape the worst rough on the golf course