On the West Coast of Canada, we have been experiencing extremely dry weather this season. The number one challenge is keeping the greens and tees alive with limited water. The second challenge, it would seem, is hitting the ball off of hard fairways which have less grass than what our players have been used to.
Golfers are a strange breed indeed. We want more yardage, and these fairways are definitely providing that. That new driver you bought and adjusted is now bounding down the fairway to spots you didn’t even know existed. So what club do you hit now? Auto pilot off. The golfer now needs to calculate a new yardage and allow for more bounce. It’s a few clubs less, but …
Relax, enjoy that long drive and then work out your next landing area, where you want the next shot to land, not the flag. If you are a laser user, you might have to focus on a bunker or mound. If you are using the yardage markers on the golf course, subtract 20 yards from your yardage and you will generally land near the front of the green.
What about that grassless lie? Simple: play the ball back a few more inches in your stance. Remember to keep the clubface square when you do this. The ball should fly a bit lower but you want that so you get the forward bounce you are looking for. Plus, the downward strike will give you better ball contact. You don’t have to hit it hard either, swing with a smooth tempo.
Try and enjoy the “unique” bounces you will get in these conditions. Accept the bad bounces and enjoy the good ones. This type of weather doesn’t come along very often, and adapting to different conditions will ultimately make you a better golfer.
As far as the golf course itself, golf course superintendents need to be adaptable too and change their maintenance and watering schedules to make things work. They know how much stress greens can or can’t take. They may need to adjust cut heights, and may have to do some unplanned maintenance as well. We golfers need to let the maintenance team do their job, respect the course, and keep power carts out of the dried out areas and the “out of play” long grass. In the long run it is in the best interest of the golf course and, of course, us golfers.
Golf your ball!
By Ward Stouffer, Director of Golf