January 2018 Newsletter

www.martinrathbone.co.uk – martin@martinrathbone.co.uk – 07958785326

Playing From Wet Ground

(… and a few famous golf quotes)

After all the rain we had this past week, I thought a good tip would be how to avoid hitting a shot fat off of the wet ground.

wet hole

Normally, well in most cases, when your tee shot hits the fairway you can expect 10-30 yards of roll after the ball lands. With the added moisture in the ground the ball isn’t going to go anywhere. Splat! It’ll land and just stop, maybe even plugging into the ground. If that’s the case, don’t forget players are allowed to lift, clean, and place their golf balls at this time of year.  So remember tee shots don’t roll.

Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf quote
“I read the greens in Spanish, but I putt in English.”

How does this impact your golf? With limited roll on tee shots, shorter hitters will be even farther back. Players that carry the ball a long way in the air and don’t rely on roll will have the advantage of hitting shorter distances into the greens.
Approach Shots Could Spin Back?
Now that you’ve bombed your tee shot in the air, you’ve got a sand wedge into the green. You take a nice full swing, land the ball in the middle of the green and it spins back off the front, it may even go down a bank and into the rough.
When the greens are soft, your ball is going to dig into the turf more than it would normally. If you’ve got a good amount of spin on the ball, it’s going to grab and bite, and often spin back a bit. You can even expect longer clubs like a mid-long iron to spin the ball back a bit.

Jack Nicklaus Golf quote
“The older you get, the stronger the wind gets; and it’s always in your face.”

Better players adjust for these conditions by taking spin off the ball and playing shots that would normally roll out some. Since the greens are so receptive, the ball will sit and stop without rolling. The way to accomplish this shot is take to club up, and make a 3/4 swing. The ball will travel the same distance but have less spin and fly on a lower trajectory. The result is being able to control where your ball ultimately ends up on the green.

Sam Snead golf quote
      “If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they’d starve to death.”

Wet Bunkers are very punishing
when it’s wet outside try to avoid the sand at all costs. Wet sand is heavier, and sand like that is very unpredictable. It can be a nice fluffy lie or hard and compact. The bunker might also have casual water in it,

If your ball is sitting in water inside the bunker then you are entitled to a drop no nearer the hole. Sometimes this can be even worse for you, imagine having to drop your ball outside the water and it’s on a downslope, the ball then plugs in the sand. You are now faced with a plugged ball in the sand, on a downslope, and let’s add you have to hit it over water as well. Now that shot is a nightmare!

Jack Nicklaus Golf quote
“Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.”

The way to deal with heavy sand is to swing harder. The thicker sand will need more force going through it to get the ball out. And if your ball does wind up plugging, swing even harder. Dig your club in an inch behind the ball and hope for the best. 
When hitting from wet ground on the fairway its not to dissimilar to playing from a fairway bunker. In both situations you are standing on soft ground and need to make ball-first contact.

Ian Poulter Golf quote
“What I always say is, “Look good, feel good, play good.”

A few ideas for helping with that are:

1. Stand tall, grip down about a half-inch and put a little more weight on your front foot at address.

2. Let the club hover above the grass, in other words do not ground the club.

3. Play the ball slightly forward of your normal ball position.

4. Look at the front edge of the ball, the closet point to your target, so when you swing the club through, you hit the back of the ball first.

5. Finish in balance on your front foot.

These suggestions will make it much easier to hit the ball first, which will result in the contact you are looking for in order to hit solid shots off the wet turf. Good luck and hope to see you on the course soon.


Martin Rathbone PGA - Head Teaching Professional - Surbiton Golf Club