When you're playing out of rough, the key is to avoid getting grass trapped between the clubface and the ball. A little grass can reduce backspin, making the shot harder to control, and a lot of grass can slow the club down or yank the face shut.
For better results, go in with realistic expectations. Hitting the green is a bonus. Your first goal should be to get the ball onto the fairway. If more than half the ball is down in the grass, you need to swing on a steeper angle. To do that, move the ball forward in your stance, put more weight on your front foot, and open your feet and shoulders to the left.
Swing along your open body position (left), hold the clubface open through impact, and play for a shot that curves right. This out-to-in swing path is naturally steeper and will allow you to hit closer to the ball and catch less grass. The open clubface produces more loft to get the ball out of the lie. Remember, the deeper it gets, the more you need to open up and the steeper you need to swing down.
Hank Haney, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head.
HOW I SEE IT
Phil Mickelson winning the British Open at 43 should at least slow down the talk about Tiger Woods running out of time to catch Jack Nicklaus' career majors record. Experience really matters at the majors, so it wasn't surprising to see Phil win, just like it wasn't a huge shock to see Greg Norman and Tom Watson almost win the British (in 2008 and '09) when they were well into their 50s. Tough and tricky conditions favor experienced players, and majors usually have some of that. Phil is nearing the end of his prime, but that doesn't mean he won't be a factor in quite a few more majors. At 37, Tiger has plenty of time. The clock is ticking, but more slowly than many people think.
HANK HANEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head.