InstructionJuly 13, 2016

No Offense, But You Don't Know How To Handle Fescue

These tips will teach you how to manage links golf courses
TROON, SCOTLAND - JULY 13:  Phil Mickelson of the United States plays his second shot on the 2nd hole during a practice round ahead of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon on July 13, 2016 in Troon, Scotland.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Getty ImagesTROON, SCOTLAND - JULY 13: Phil Mickelson of the United States plays his second shot on the 2nd hole during a practice round ahead of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon on July 13, 2016 in Troon, Scotland. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

With the British Open at Royal Troon starting Thursday, it’s as good of a time as any to talk about fescue.

Fescue is a lot of things, tall, pretty, Scottish...and annoying, infuriating, terrifying.

Chances are you don’t play links courses very often, which means that when you do, you probably have no idea what to do when you get trapped in the fescue.

John Bierkan, one of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers and Director of Instruction at Aronimink Golf Club and Quail Valley Golf Club, says the first thing you need to do is let go of any hopes of being a hero.

“First off, a golfer's mindset when getting out of the fescue needs to be to take your medicine and accept the fact that you're giving up a stroke....unless you get a lucky lie and have room to swing.”

Bierkan says to take a high-lofted wedge, and find the shortest line that leads you straight back into the fairway.

“To assure a good exit from the tall, gnarly grass, you need to have speed,” says Bierkan.

To get a little extra clubhead speed, Bierkan suggests cocking your wrists a little earlier and more aggressively in the back swing.

“This not only helps to dig the ball out of the fescue,” says Bierkan, “but also helps stabilize the face angle upon collision with the grass. Fescue is notorious for grabbing the club and closing the face, causing pulls.”

Once you’re successfully out of the fescue, Bierkan says you need to forget about what just happened. There’s no benefit in lamenting the punishment the fescue just dolled out.

“The Golden Rule in good course management: Never follow up one mistake with another,” says Bierkan. “Take what the course gives you and play on!”


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