The past couple of weeks the weather has been about as perfect as you can get for golf weather. Blue skies, cooler temperatures, low humidity, and dry golf courses. With the exception of some pretty windy days, this weather has been a golfer's dream.
With so many days of no rain that means golf courses are much drier and usually will play firmer and faster than we are used to. Does that mean you should adjust your game for these conditions? The short answer is yes. Although there are no big adjustments to make as to how you play golf these are minor adjustments to your shot selection.
Why makes adjustments? There is typically no change to how far the golf ball carries in the air, however, you may feel like there is a change in the distance you hit a club. This will be most notable with your driver. When a golf course plays firmer and faster the golf ball will bounce and roll more and you may be hitting one or two clubs less on your approach shot than you normally would on a given hole. That is not the only thing you may notice though.
There are three main areas you should adjust your shot selection.
Off The Tee - This is actually something you won't have to worry about too much at golf courses in the greater New Orleans area but you need to be aware of it. This is especially helpful for course management and playing to your strengths. If you carry your driver in the air 240 yards but the golf ball is bouncing and rolling out another 30 yards you need to take that into consideration. On a short par 4 for example, hitting the golf ball 270 yards may put you at an in-between yardage or too close to the green with a half shot. On some holes, you may run out of fairway at a certain yardage and you need to keep the ball short of a hazard. If you know your carry distance and how far the golf ball is rolling out then you can adjust to make sure you stay short of that hazard or have that comfortable yardage into a green.
Approach Shots - As is with off the tee the golf ball hitting a green will not stop as quickly when a golf course is drier, firmer, and faster. Take this into consideration. Your 7-iron that may fly 150 yards may finish long off the green after it bounces and rolls another 10-15 yards. However, adjusting to this is a bit tricky. Yes, you can possibly just hit one less club but that could also add spin to the golf ball that will help that club stop faster. The difference in the golf ball spin rate between a 7 and 8-iron may equal a 5- 10 yard difference in the total distance. Plus as you add more loft the golf ball will hit the green at a steeper angle and will make a difference in how much it bounces forward. If you have a higher ball flight you may not be able to go one club less. You may have to hit a 3/4 shot. You also have to consider any bunkers you may need to carry. Do Not go down to a club that will not carry a bunker or other hazard short of the green. You should also have enough club to carry the golf ball no shorter than the front edge of the green. This means for a front pin location that may only be on the green by 3-5 yards play it to land by the pin and make a long putt from the middle or the back of the green.
Chip/Pitch shots - This is actually a simple adjustment. Just like putting we adjust daily to the speed of the green and we do the same for ship and pitch shots. The only difference, in this case, is adjusting for the firmness of the greens. Even the most lofted club in your bag will not stop as quickly. Depending on the situation you can change the shot type or use a higher lofter club for the same shot. For many golfers, if the situation allows for it you may just putt it and in that case, you only adjust for the speed of the fringe/fairway cut and the green. If you elect to pitch the ball you just have to land the ball shorter to adjust for a firm first bounce and the speed of the green. For a chip shot if you would normally use a pitching wedge then you may want to hit the same shot with a 52º or approach wedge. This will allow you to get a little more spin on the ball to lessen that first bounce. If you already are a golfer that just uses their most lofted club for everything around the green you will have to change the shot type. To help you check out the video we did about hitting multiple shots with one club.
I hope these tips help you play better golf. Let's keep enjoying this great weather and most of all.... Have Fun Playing Golf!