We get it. Sometimes, you don’t want to mess around with some swing-aid contraption. Sometimes, you just want better ball striking in the simplest way possible. And what’s the simplest way to practice? Practice in the rough. Yes, we know, you’re in the rough all the time when you play –- why would you want to be in the rough when you practice?
Because the rough can teach you a lot about ball striking.
Josh Zander says that he comes across a lot of people who swing too relaxed. That’s what can happen when you’re told to swing nice and easy –- you forget that you have to go after the ball.
With a loose swing, you’re going to get out of synch and your move through the impact zone isn’t going to have the decisiveness you need to achieve solid contact.
So, how do you teach yourself to swing confidently with a bit more force? Hit out of the rough.
Think about your friends’ swings out of the rough compared to out of the fairway. They go after it a bit more, right? The swing naturally gets more compact and aggressive when you’re hitting out of the rough.
“They instinctively brace for impact to stabilize the club as it moves through the heavy grass,” says Zander. “That stable feeling is what you want on your shots from the fairway, too.”
Here’s a tip to help you get the most out of hitting balls from rough. Zander says that you need to get that feeling of connectedness between your arms and your torso to hit solid shots. To practice that, he says, “At address, feel pressure in both armpits, the biceps pressed against the chest. As a drill, tuck the sleeves of your shirt under your arms and practice making half swings, keeping that pinch.”
When you take your full swings, try and recreate that feeling. The benefit of doing that out of the rough is that the rough will let you know when your arms get disconnected: your shots will be terrible if you don’t stay connected and strong through the shot. Practice hitting balls out of the rough, and you'll develop better ball striking sooner than you think.