When hitting full shots, your goal should always be to make ball-first contact. But how do you do that when your ball is buried in the rough? You don't. You have to accept the fact that some grass is going to get between the clubface and the ball at impact. To avoid as much grass as you can, you need to make a steeper downswing. To set up a steep angle, hinge your wrists quickly as you take the club back (right).
The great recovery artist Seve Ballesteros often found himself in the rough. He would use his right index finger to put extra pressure on the handle, and that helped him quickly pick the clubhead up. Normally I teach a relaxed grip, but Seve's adjustment makes sense. Plus, a little extra squeeze helps keep the clubhead from twisting when it catches the grass.
SMITH, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich., and Tiburón in Naples, Fla.