Monday, June 18, 2012

4 Tips to Help You Score Well on a Wet Golf Course

Most golfers prefer a dry course, but inevitably you'll find yourself facing wet conditions.

Perhaps you are playing in a tournament or on a special out-of-town course and a quick shower passes through the course. It a special day and you don't want to pass up the opportunity. Whatever the reason, playing a wet course requires some special techniques and skills.

For those old and new to golf, here's a quick safety tip.

Never play golf during a thunderstorm. Being struck by lightning is no laughing matter. Standing out in the open, unprotected, or under a tree or near water, and holding a metal shaft in your hands, puts you at a drastically higher risk. Don't wait to hear the thunder or see the first lightning strike, as the first strike might be close to you. Be smart. Mark your ball and get to the clubhouse at the first sign of any inclement weather.

After the storm has passed and it is safe to return to the course, here are some tips to help you get through a wet course without sacrificing your score:

1. When you are playing a course that is truly wet, and not just damp, you may notice your feet sinking into the turf. Choke down on the club shaft, up to one inch to prevent making fat shots.

2. The first hole you play on a wet course should be considered a course evaluation hole. Many inexperienced golfers assume they can play the same club on a wet course as they would on a dry course, but this is almost never the case.

As you hit your first series of shots on the first hole, pay close attention to how your ball reacts when it lands. You'll most likely find that it will not roll anywhere near as much on wet turf as it would on dry.

If this is the case, don't be afraid to add more club to your future shots. You may find that you can add one, two, or even three clubs depending on how wet the course is and how far or little your ball rolls.

3. If you find yourself in the rough on a wet course, you may need to adjust your swing. Raining your hands slightly at address will make the club shaft more vertical. A more vertical swing will get through wet grass easier than a horizontal club shaft.

Playing out of the rough also requires more power to compensate for the sticky grass that slows down club head speed. Try not to swat at the ball on the downswing. Just add a little more power throughout the swing to increase club head speed.

When playing on a dry course in the rough, we are told not to grip the club too tightly. On a wet course, the deeper grass provides opposition. Make sure you are holding the club tight enough to keep the face of the club from flying open upon impact with the ball.

Take a couple of practice swings in the rough to get a feel for the amount of resistance the club head is getting from the wet grass.

4. Putting on a wet green is almost always slower than normal. Little rooster tails of water indicate increased drag on the ball. Take this into account when judging the pace of a putt. If you are starting your round after the rain, then get to the practice green quickly to get a feel for the break and resistance on the ball.

You will also find that balls do not break as much on a wet green (with the exception of a crnss-grain). You may find that your ball actually "slides" down the grain on very wet greens as it goes with the water flow.

In general, it is best to be more aggressive when playing on a wet course. Try to make more solid hits on a straighter target path to compensate for the drag caused by the water. This may not work in every case, but the odds are with you in these conditions.

Always repair the ball marks on the green. With wet play the ball generally hits and sticks. Repairing the ball mark on a wet green will allow the green to be in better shape after it dries.

Playing a wet course requires you to adjust your course management skills and play modified shots that work with the water rather than trying to fight it.

Be patient, be mindful of your shots, and don't be afraid to change your tactics as you move from hole to hole.

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