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Kevin Erdman explains how you should adjust when playing out of the longer grass

As an amateur golfer, we face certain truths in golf. One, fun is not necessarily linked to score. Two, beauty always trumps the alternative. And three, we will likely be spending plenty of time in the rough.


Not all rough is created equal, of course. At Sunriver Resort, distinct cuts change the kind of shot one should hit. But many amateurs venture into the long grass with the same club and set up as on Sunriver’s manicured fairways. The results are not always pretty.


What is an amateur golfer to do?


Kevin Erdman, Sunriver Resort director of golf instruction, says that golfers should make some key adjustments when playing out of the longer grass. Those adjustments include club selection, tweaking your stance and swing, and tightening up your aim.


  • Grab the right club. It seems simple enough, but the first step to better play from the rough actually starts in the golf cart, where you will make your club selection. If sitting at your typical 9-iron distance, consider using an 8-iron instead. The lower loft should provide the distance you need to get the ball to the desired distance.


“When you go through the rough, it grabs your club and slows you down,” Erdman said. “You want to make sure you can get the ball there.”


  • Make cleaner contact with the ball. Hitting a quality shot usually comes down to contact. But clean contact is tougher with the grassier lies found in the rough. To achieve purer contact, play the ball in the back of the stance. In addition, put more weight on your front leg at address to help produce a steeper swing, which will help prevent you from dragging your club through the longer grass before impact. The steeper swing and adjusted stance should improve your odds of the clubface striking the ball before the clubface hits the ground and slows the club down.


  • Adjust your aim. The longer grass of the rough will inevitably grab the heel of your club and force the face to close at impact. To combat this, golfers have two choices: Either tighten their grip to limit the movement, or exaggerate the aim to compensate for an offline strike (for righthanders, aim right of your desired target). In addition, remember that even high-lifted shots out of the rough will typically roll out more than a shot from the fairway. Aim short of the target to allow room for the ball to run once it lands.


“If you try to do these things, it will really help you out and hit better shots out of the rough,” Erdman said.


One last thing. Golfers who find themselves in the deep rough should think more conservatively. If the rough is too thick to make clean contact with the ball, consider an easier shot with a wedge to work the ball back into the fairway and keep your chances alive for an up-and-down par.


Of course, professional instruction can help improve all facets of your game. Sunriver Resort’s staff of golf professionals can help get your game in shape this summer.

For rates and instructional programs visit our Golf Academy page. To book a lesson with Erdman, email him directly at

To view the full video, click here.


For rates and instructional programs visit our Golf Academy page. To book a lesson with Erdman, email him directly at

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