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How do you rate the rough?
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TOPIC: How do you rate the rough?

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t8fish
How do you rate the rough?
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Sunday November 21, 2021 9:32 AM
I may have seen this discussed in passing and if there is an existing thread I couldn't find it.

I was out at Oak Quarry last week and the rough was tough — thick, juicy, grabby. I've seen brutal, and I wouldn't go quite that far, but it was a force to be reckoned with and was usually costing you at least a shot. You might have to deal with variances in grain direction and how deep your ball was sitting, but as much as could be expected, it was also consistent, so in that sense it might be described as fair.

But when it comes to rating rough, it always gives me pause. I've played courses where the rough was green and consistent but cut to a height that was very playable with little or no penalty to it. On average it'a mixed bag, and of course there are places where it is a dirt dominated afterthought. The last of these would unquestionably be low rated, but what about the difficulty factor of the other, more consistent versions?

Do you give a higher or lower rating for punishing rough? I suspect there will be two (or more) camps on this but I would like to see some consensus on what the higher or lower rating represents. It actually doesn't matter which condition gets the higher rating, just that it is somewhat consistent so we know what it means and can calibrate our our expectations. That's kind of what the ratings are for.

Comments?
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 Message #100932
NutNButCup
RE: How do you rate the rough?
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Sunday November 21, 2021 11:26 AM
I don't tend to rate rough based on length, thickness, or difficulty. Primarily I rate on coverage especially around the greens. For coverage along the fairways I put the most rating emphasis on the first 10 yards or so. Next I rate based on consistency of height over actual height. I have played some courses when the rough around the green complexes is longer than along the fairways. In those cases I don't down grade if the green complexes are one length and the immediate fairway rough is another length. I also don't tend to down grade when the rough is cut almost fairway height as long as there is consistent coverage.
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Nickesquire
RE: How do you rate the rough?
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Saturday November 27, 2021 10:44 AM
Definitely high marks for uniformity. I tend to mark it down when the rough is all over the place and could be 6" deep 5' away from hardpan.

High marks for being about a 1/2 shot penalty. IMO, it should be a penalty for me missing the fairway. I should not be able to hit a long iron or wood on the green from the rough 200 yards away as often as if I were in a fairway. And I find that short rough (about 1 1/4") can actually be better to hit those shots from than the average fairway lie for me. Almost like having it teed up.

However if you add even about an inch? That can eliminate longer clubs over hazards as an option for me if it's thick at all.

High marks if it looks good, although I won't necessarily mark it down if it plays to the above standards and just doesn't look great. Same as I do for greens and traps. How it plays is much more important than how it looks.

I will comment and complain about rough that is so long/thick that you practically have to step on your ball to find it. Low marks for not being a penalty at all or being so penal you can barely get a SW out 20 yards. I think most want to know ahead of time and would lead to most courses that have that type rough being labeled as a "no fun" place to spend your golfing time/$$$ at. No place for that on a normal course most GKers would be looking to play would be my guess.
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The goal has always been long and straight! But since I can no longer hit them long, hopefully straighter could be achieved more than occasionally?
 Message #101004 - This was a reply to message #100936
t8fish
RE: How do you rate the rough?
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Saturday November 27, 2021 9:13 PM
I find these responses helpful. I think the base line positives would be: 1) rough (i.e. something green actually growing there to the point of providing at least some cushion), and 2) a general consistency. Throw out the high and the low conditions-wise and there is reasonable range to rate something as good rough.
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noeldaof
RE: How do you rate the rough?
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Monday November 29, 2021 12:27 PM
Good question, t8fish.
Yes, I'm sure there were some discussions on it but whatever conversations I recall was from far back when ratings were in development and I don't really remember what was said. Like you, I have often thought and wondered to myself if I was in sync with others, but I went on appreciating that the rough was part of the golf course that is lesser than a primary cut, and much lesser than a closely mowed fairways as far as playability goes or at least getting onto the ball. I also think that the rough is to be regarded as something a closer element to a hazard or a penalty area as it can be (for myself).
Smaller courses, or many resort courses, or even many local courses have a different approach than other or the few elite championship courses from what I've seen. Their aim for the way they prepare their courses are far from each other, I think in general. I play the local and resort courses 99% of the time. But because there are no differentiation between them, I tend to think in general more as local and resort. From there, grass or rough coverage will be a factor along with uniformity in height and its lushness or barren or spotty.
Sometimes, I also see the local/resort courses try and grow and prepare their roughs very lush and healthy, and when they grow it tall and penalizing, I can appreciate their efforts and also add a little respect for the course's play. For those courses who are able to do that, I have to give them higher ratings even though it goes against my errors of play- it is good preparation to me. On the other hand, when we see the rough areas are clumpy barren... not only does it looks terrible, but it shows that the course are not maintaining it for whatever reason and that is poor maintenance. But then again that's the rough area and the preferred position areas are the short grass- I'd have to give the course a lesser point.
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JVGA
 Message #101013 - This was a reply to message #100936
msherer260
RE: How do you rate the rough?
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Monday November 29, 2021 8:57 PM
Public courses should always maintain rough at a level where golf balls do not become LOST...higher then fairways yes but not to the point a ball disappears...What is it 15 to 20% of players follow the 3 minutes to lost ball...the other 80% not only spend more time looking for their ball but the other players all pull over and start looking and after 6 to 10 minutes (if not found) then go back to their balls as groups start backing up behind them...public courses need to make a one shot rule on lost balls and no loss of distance to keep play moving....we are not pros...
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RDDenn
RE: How do you rate the rough?

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Tuesday November 30, 2021 9:42 AM
QUOTED  Public courses should always maintain rough at a level where golf balls do not become LOST

El Dorado Park, in the 1990s, had a brutal rough in which lost balls were not uncommon. They made the decision to cut down the rough as a pace of play decision. Maybe they were softening the course also but they were always busy, it was during Tiger's/golf's heyday, so I do not think that was the decisive factor.
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