It wouldn't be the US Open without some brutally thick rough. George Cooper investigates how it's shaping up this year

The USGA notoriously likes to grow the rough thick and penal for the US Open in their quest to create what they call the “toughest test in golf”. So in true US Open style, expect to see heaps of tall grass and very few mowers at Brookline this week for the 2022 championship.

On top of lightning-fast greens and brutally narrow fairways, the USGA has their host venue’s rough grown for months before the third major of the year tees off, producing a truly gnarly challenge for all golfers.

Typical US Open rough grows anywhere between 2 and 6 inches depending on the type of grass. By example, the dense fescue at Shinnecock Hills for the 2018 tournament was around 4 inches thick. At Winged Foot in 2020, the USGA then upped the ante by having the meadow grass grown to 6 inches deep.

For this year’s US Open at The Country Club at Brookline, the course utilises agrostis grass – which you’ll probably know as bentgrass – which is characterised by thin, shallow blades which have a dense root system, meaning even with heavy spectator foot traffic, the cuts still retain most of their savage thickness.

Consisting of three different cuts, the US Open rough at Brookline will be around 5.4 inches deep. And, in true US Open fashion, here is the obligatory ball drop video to show you just how brutal the roughs will be…

All in all, the closer players are to the fairway – in the intermediate rough – the less penal it is. But the deeper in and more off-target players are, the denser and more merciless the rough becomes.

On average, most players lose half shot or more to the rough in the US Open. So with that in mind, golfers should be advised to follow classic mantra of the US Open: miss big or don’t miss at all!


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