Golf courses are set-up to challenge players and the rough is one element which can be found on most courses, wherever you are in the world.
It is always disappointing when you find your ball in the rough but the most important thing to do is accept that you are now playing a different shot than you wanted to be playing. You cannot afford to try and hit the ball out of the rough in the same way you would if you were on the fairway.
Accepting that your position is not ideal is the first aspect of successfully playing from the rough.
First, Access the Situation
This first thing to do when finding your ball in the rough is to assess the situation. How deep is the ball in the rough? Is the grass wet or dry? How far away are you from the green? Are there any hazards between you and the green?
By asking yourself these questions, you can quickly form an idea of the type of shot you can play.
For example, if the ball is sitting up quite well in dry rough and you have 100 yards to the green with no hazards between you and the putting surface, it would be reasonable to attempt a shot to the green.
However, if the ball is buried in a deep, wet rough, you will need to change your approach. You must take a lofted club, such as a pitching wedge or sand wedge, as these clubs have plenty of loft but also the weight to get through the long, damp grass.
When in a deep, wet fairway rough, you are going to struggle to get the contact required to play a shot to the green. Therefore, the best thing to do in this situation is play a shot which gets the ball on the fairway without the risk of dropping further shots. This could mean playing a shot sideways or even backwards and while that may feel like you have been defeated, it will save you shots.
If you are playing out of a thick rough, the key is to open the face of the club. When the club contacts the grass, it is going to be pushed closed so try and keep the grip firm. Position the ball in the back of your stance and this will produce a steep angle of attack to the ball, allowing a downward strike towards the bottom of the ball.
Playing from a deep rough is just one example of playing from the rough. You could face many different lies and the only way to improve playing from them is by experience. Even then, not every ball is going to react exactly the same when playing from the rough.
However, the one thought to always keep in mind when playing from the rough is how you can limit the damage and get your ball back in play.