NCG's Golf Gossary: What is rough?

Don’t know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG’s Golf Glossary is here to help

Here at NCG we pride ourselves on being the publication for the everyday player, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to delve into the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

Sometimes the most obvious terms have the most interesting story, so you might find yourself an interesting conversation starter…

What is rough?

Rough in golf refers to the thicker type of grass that is usually on either side of the fairway.

How would I use it in a sentence?

“He missed the fairway to the right and there was thick rough that was to the right of the fairway”

What are the origins?

Rough is added to golf courses to make them harder, especially your average golfer from the local club. Some golfers will tell you stories of how they have ‘hacked’ it around in the rough and it has ruined their rounds.

Courses can set the length of rough as long as it follows R&A or USGA guidelines.

Most clubs won’t let their rough grow unless there is a big competition with a better standard of players playing. The reason for this is to keep the rough fairly thin so it is easier to find your ball.

Clubs also do this to ensure the pace of play is kept lower so players are’t wasting time searching for balls.

Any other business?

There are different types of rough on a golf course. One is the primary rough which is located immediately next to the fairway and this is also referred to as the ‘first cut’. Typically this is a nice fluffy piece of grass that doesn’t affect you too much if your ball lands on it.

Another is the second cut which is usually the thickest of the rough and this is on the outside of the first cut. Most golfers want to avoid this because it is hard to hit out of.

The last is the ‘apron’ or ‘fringe’ which is the type of cut down rough which surrounds the green and around bunkers.

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