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Moppy

Checking the ball on the green.

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I recognize that as a "high handicapper" I rarely make pure contact with the ball, if ever. I am able to make plastic balls spin and hop backwards when they hit, and have had some success now getting iron shots to "check" on the green, meaning, stop in a short distance, rather than just rolling off into the rough or worse. The thing is that this requires me to take a divot in front of the ball, and as the dry weather extends and the ground gets hard, my shots get more and more unpredictable. Is this normal? Should I expect this? Am I just not physically strong enough? Or am I just doing it wrong?

I feel like hitting the ball this way has both set my game back, duffing lots of balls, and moved it forward, I don't feel like I am being punished by a roll off for hitting the green.

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I recognize that as a "high handicapper" I rarely make pure contact with the ball, if ever. I am able to make plastic balls spin and hop backwards when they hit, and have had some success now getting iron shots to "check" on the green, meaning, stop in a short distance, rather than just rolling off into the rough or worse. The thing is that this requires me to take a divot in front of the ball, and as the dry weather extends and the ground gets hard, my shots get more and more unpredictable. Is this normal? Should I expect this? Am I just not physically strong enough? Or am I just doing it wrong?

I feel like hitting the ball this way has both set my game back, duffing lots of balls, and moved it forward, I don't feel like I am being punished by a roll off for hitting the green.

Hardpan makes it hard for me to get a good amount of backspin on approach shots as well. I don't know what a good cure for this is though as I'm obviously a higher handicap also.

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I recognize that as a "high handicapper" I rarely make pure contact with the ball, if ever. I am able to make plastic balls spin and hop backwards when they hit, and have had some success now getting iron shots to "check" on the green, meaning, stop in a short distance, rather than just rolling off into the rough or worse. The thing is that this requires me to take a divot in front of the ball, and as the dry weather extends and the ground gets hard, my shots get more and more unpredictable. Is this normal? Should I expect this? Am I just not physically strong enough? Or am I just doing it wrong? I feel like hitting the ball this way has both set my game back, duffing lots of balls, and moved it forward, I don't feel like I am being punished by a roll off for hitting the green.

I would suspect your results off of very tight lies is normal for the average golfer. I also believe, though, that it should help you identify weaknesses. If you can consistently take a divot after the ball, a baked out fairway shouldn't matter (unless, I guess, if your swing path is so steep that you bury the club head into the ground after contact and nearly break your wrist). So, if you struggle with these lies, you know that you aren 't consistently making a proper ball first contact. This is the same reason why some folks prefer their muni fairways compared to a very closely mown fairway... I used to live in Dallas and know how hard the ground can get (boy do I miss the days of 40 yd rollouts with my driver). The pro at the club I was at there actually recommended practicing on bare dirt. There is no room for error, and you know immediately if you made a proper ball first contact, while not thinning it.

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Over the years I find that hard pan tends to lower the launch angle of the golf ball. The ball should spin more, or at least optimally on hard pan because there is no chance of anything getting between the ball and the club at impact. So the ball would probably go lower, take a big bounce and check up. The 2nd problem is, in the summer greens get hard. So a lower faster golf ball, might bounce way to hard and end up over the green in the rough before it has time to check. On this one hole I play, you have to hit the ball in front of the green, i mean like 4 yards in front for the ball to now bounce through the green if your hitting anything other than a wedge. Luckily its a short hole, but if I end up with a mid Iron, i try to hit a ball to about 5-10 yards short of the green.

You could try to hit the ball higher, maybe try to hit some push fades. Other than that, try to club down and pray for a good bounce. Abnormally hard ground conditions are almost partially luck. Look at the British open, some of the times the ball runs out just perfect, other times it bounces crazily.

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" I also believe, though, that it should help you identify weaknesses. If you can consistently take a divot after the ball, a baked out fairway shouldn't matter "

Thank you, I think you are right, I am probably hitting a little in front of the ball at times, and was getting away with it more, though not perfectly, before the ground got so hard. And since the plastic balls sit right on top of the grass, I was probably making contact with them first the vast majority of the time.

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Moppy, i think you must ask yourself is you are trying to hit shots or trying for lower scores. They are not always the same. Sure, maybe we would like to hit the wedge and stop the ball near the hole but in fact the smart play might be the 8i with a few bounces and roll out. Or, even the putter at times to 'keep the card number as low as possible'. I believe more room for error with wedges off hard surfaces is skill level low. The ego and self-respect can suffer if putting from 40 yds off the green. Acceptance is a great lesson.

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Moppy, i think you must ask yourself is you are trying to hit shots or trying for lower scores. They are not always the same. Sure, maybe we would like to hit the wedge and stop the ball near the hole but in fact the smart play might be the 8i with a few bounces and roll out. Or, even the putter at times to 'keep the card number as low as possible'. I believe more room for error with wedges off hard surfaces is skill level low. The ego and self-respect can suffer if putting from 40 yds off the green. Acceptance is a great lesson.

I agree with you. I consider myself fairly good at hitting high spin shots when I need to but I use them as a last resort and I think it's my only chance to get close.

I use them so rarely that it always surprises my playing partners when I do.

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Moppy, i think you must ask yourself is you are trying to hit shots or trying for lower scores. They are not always the same. Sure, maybe we would like to hit the wedge and stop the ball near the hole but in fact the smart play might be the 8i with a few bounces and roll out. Or, even the putter at times to 'keep the card number as low as possible'. I believe more room for error with wedges off hard surfaces is skill level low. The ego and self-respect can suffer if putting from 40 yds off the green. Acceptance is a great lesson.

Why would 8i bounce and roll?

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" I think you must ask yourself is you are trying to hit shots or trying for lower scores. They are not always the same " - Joekelly,

Guilty, but r olling the ball off the green when I actually managed to hit the ball onto the green i s just deflating for me; e specially the 9th hole at the only course I play. It is shaped like a saddle and sits on top of a hill. Rolling it onto this green seems impossible. It is a par five and twice this summer I hit the green in three only to have it roll off down the hill into the rough for double bogey or worse . This past Sunday,by applying backspin, I actually hit the ball onto the green and it only rolled to the fringe, from which I was able to two putt for a par. Admittedly, the duffing I did elsewhere probably lowered my score from what it might have been, this was my only par. But I view this whole season as practice for a game I hope to play a lot when I retire.  Right now, I take from a game the memory of nice shots, a nice drive, a long putt, and yes, managing to check the ball on the green.

But your point is taken.

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" I think you must ask yourself is you are trying to hit shots or trying for lower scores. They are not always the same" - Joekelly,

Guilty, but rolling the ball off the green when I actually managed to hit the ball onto the green is just deflating for me; especially the 9th hole at the only course I play. It is shaped like a saddle and sits on top of a hill. Rolling it onto this green seems impossible. It is a par five and twice this summer I hit the green in three only to have it roll off down the hill into the rough for double bogey or worse. This past Sunday,by applying backspin, I actually hit the ball onto the green and it only rolled to the fringe, from which I was able to two putt for a par. Admittedly, the duffing I did elsewhere probably lowered my score from what it might have been, this was my only par. But I view this whole season as practice for a game I hope to play a lot when I retire.  Right now, I take from a game the memory of nice shots, a nice drive, a long putt, and yes, managing to check the ball on the green.

But your point is taken.

Hitting a bounce/roll approach can be just as unpredictable when in comes to how the ball will react on the way there. The ball can bounce off to one side or the other easily. Both approaches are good given the right circumstances/course condition.

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Given that you have some green to work with it's best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible i.e. 8 iron, 7 iron, hybrid, etc.
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