dylhall

Short game (100 yards in) in sloppy conditions

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Hi all,

I'm fairly new to this site, and this is my first post. I couldn't find anything related to this so my apologies if this has been discussed before.

I live in Portland, OR, where it is rainy from October to April. Luckily, the temperatures are fairly moderate, so you can pretty much golf year round. However, a lot of the courses I play don't necessarily have the best drainage, so I often find myself golfing in fairly sloppy conditions this time of year. This doesn't tend to mess with me too much, except when it comes to my short game.

The reason it messes with me is when I am using my gap (54 degree - usually 85-100 yards) or sand (58 degree - less than 85 yards), they seem to chunk into the soft turf much easier than my other irons. The result of not making pure contact and hitting behind the ball is severely chunked shots. Being the mental midget that I am when it comes to golf, when I'm in these conditions it usually only takes me one of these chunked shots to start overcompensating and hitting them all super thin. Today, for example, I had a sweet drive that left me about 40 yards short of the green on a short, muddy par 4. I then went on to top it over the green, then back over the other side, then hit it fat, then flew it over the green AGAIN.

Obviously I have some skills that need to be improved. I do spend a lot of my practice time pitching and chipping, so I know I can execute these shorter shots, but in these conditions I get so psyched out by the mud that it wrecks me.

Long story short, my question is, should I be altering these shots in any way? Or should I be learning a different shot (maybe a 50% pitching wedge since it has far more bounce and won't dig in as easy)? Any technique suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I look forward to your feedback!

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When it's really bad (like right now) my sand and gap wedges stay in the bag on many more short game shots than normal, and my lob wedge stays in the closet at my house. On some downhill short sided shots I might pull the sand wedge and take the risk but it's a last resort. My chances of a bad mistake are less with a pitching wedge off of muddy ground.
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Literally muddy ground is a unique case. The pitching technique we prefer ( ) goes out the window (though, since you said inside 100 yards, I'm guessing you mean a lot of these are nearly full swings or close to it, and not pitches).

Some players move the ball back in these conditions. I advise against that, and actually advise the opposite more: move the ball a little forward. Leave your weight primarily on your front foot. Then you're free to move into (forward) the shot a little more, making it less likely you'll catch it heavy.

Beyond that, the advice given already is good: take more club so you can make a shorter shot (I doubt very much that your PW has more bounce than your SW, but that's beside the point in mud - bounce often doesn't do much to help keep the club from taking a bigger divot like it does in dry conditions).

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Thank you both. I guess I misunderstood "bounce" in relation to my standard iron set. To clarify, yes, when I said 100 yards in some of these were full swings, but a lot were pitches. The common theme with all of them though is the use of my gap and sand wedge, which for whatever reason seem to be far less forgiving in super soft/soggy fairways (when I said muddy, I didn't mean like a cow pasture, I meant sloppy, not firm fairway that is retaining a lot of water because of various reasons (bottom of hill, poor drainage, massive amount of rain for a week straight, etc.)). I appreciate the tips, I'll give it a shot with some shorter swings with longer clubs.
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To clarify, yes, when I said 100 yards in some of these were full swings, but a lot were pitches.

Then I'll just reiterate what @iacas said, make sure not to play the ball middle or back of your stance. Very important to be "soft" with you arms and pivot through the shot with the weight forward. Check out that pitching thread for more.

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Thanks for the advice and the link to the video gentlemen. I can definitely see I need to work on softer arms, not to mention the full pivot through the shot. These are both things I feel I do a fairly good job of during practice, then when the shot counts I tighten up, get tentative, and the result is the issue I posted about! I'll make it more of a swing thought during practice and play to loosen/soften up a bit, and commit to the shot.

Thanks for the welcome. I hope to learn a lot about improving my game on this site, I'm so glad I found it!

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I was playing in slop yesterday, 1.5 feet of snow melting will do that, lol. On the shots around the green that were in some narsty wetness, I just try to lower the club just so that it touches the ground, and make a move back and through trying not to move vertically, most of the time, im able to pick it right off the surface. I know this probably isn't the greatest technique for this but it worked for me. I for sure agree with taking more club though. The shorter the swing, the bigger the margin of error gets.

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I play in the deep South, lots of tight, bare and very wet lies,esp. green side.  Try this short game (40 yds. or less) technique with practice only, a technique which I learned from a former Ryder-Walker player of long ago, now deceased.  This is only to be "attempted" in extreme circumstances, no other standard options, really bad lies, match play,yips, cuppy, etc.  Much to my surprise, I have seen a couple of PGA pros practicing this at the Zurich Classic in NOLA at the TPC club here after a heavy rain.  Proceed at your own risk, this is a risky, very advanced shot. At the same time, it smacks of both desperation and sophistication.

Use your narrow flanged PW or GW, low bounce, choke the club to SW length, open the face slightly, open stance, ball and hands in the middle of the stance, or slightly forward - straight shaft at address, and then hit a bunker shot, - yes, intentionally hit behind the ball with a thump and an appropriate follow through. It's a very advanced shot. This technique is also used for heavy, greenside shots from the rough.

I would love your feed back, pro and con. This actually works on dry hard pan, too.

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Literally muddy ground is a unique case. The pitching technique we prefer ( ​ ) goes out the window (though, since you said inside 100 yards, I'm guessing you mean a lot of these are nearly full swings or close to it, and not pitches).

Some players move the ball back in these conditions. I advise against that, and actually advise the opposite more: move the ball a little forward. Leave your weight primarily on your front foot. Then you're free to move into (forward) the shot a little more, making it less likely you'll catch it heavy.

Beyond that, the advice given already is good: take more club so you can make a shorter shot (I doubt very much that your PW has more bounce than your SW, but that's beside the point in mud - bounce often doesn't do much to help keep the club from taking a bigger divot like it does in dry conditions).

Really? I would have thought one of those super game improvement sand wedges with a giant flange and plenty of bounce would be ideal off of extremely softened turf. Guess I need to rethink my strategy for those rainy days.

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Really? I would have thought one of those super game improvement sand wedges with a giant flange and plenty of bounce would be ideal off of extremely softened turf. Guess I need to rethink my strategy for those rainy days.


Depends on how soft and wet we are talking about. If what you have is working on the ground you are playing on I wouldn't change it. Anytime I can use the bounce on those short game shots I do.

Sometimes our course is so soft that none of my clubs have enough bounce to depend on it very much. Nothing feels worse than a club stuck in the muck before the ball. :-D

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Really? I would have thought one of those super game improvement sand wedges with a giant flange and plenty of bounce would be ideal off of extremely softened turf. Guess I need to rethink my strategy for those rainy days.

Yea, probably has to do with the overall strength of the ground. When it gets pretty soggy there is no stopping the ground from taking the full width of the club as a divot (or more). When its dry the shape of the sole can minimize the sole because it decreases the surface area in which the ground contacts. The ground contacts the center of the sole first.

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Really? I would have thought one of those super game improvement sand wedges with a giant flange and plenty of bounce would be ideal off of extremely softened turf. Guess I need to rethink my strategy for those rainy days.

I was picturing him playing in super muddy, wet conditions. Conditions that almost have casual water everywhere. I don't care how much bounce you have, in those situations, the club's just taking a big sopping divot.

That was my impression of the OP, plus the fact that he wasn't hitting pitches (he said he was hitting fuller shots, I thought).

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On 23/02/2014 at 10:12 AM, iacas said:

Literally muddy ground is a unique case. The pitching technique we prefer ( ) goes out the window (though, since you said inside 100 yards, I'm guessing you mean a lot of these are nearly full swings or close to it, and not pitches).

 

Some players move the ball back in these conditions. I advise against that, and actually advise the opposite more: move the ball a little forward. Leave your weight primarily on your front foot. Then you're free to move into (forward) the shot a little more, making it less likely you'll catch it heavy.

 

Beyond that, the advice given already is good: take more club so you can make a shorter shot (I doubt very much that your PW has more bounce than your SW, but that's beside the point in mud - bounce often doesn't do much to help keep the club from taking a bigger divot like it does in dry conditions).

You say that the pitching method you advocate goes out the window on sloppy mud... Would you advise not pitching at all and just a mixture of chips and fuller shots, or have I misinterpreted you?

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My general shot, independent of the conditions, for ranges between 50 and 120 yards is the way iacas described it above. Weight a little more left, ball also forward, and then just a smooth swing. If you focus on keeping your head up and not ducking down during your backswing, you won't hit a lot of fat shots.

 

Also, I advise practicing bunker shots out of these ranges. They also require you to make clean contact with no sand first. But there you have the advantage that you don't make a huge mess if you hit a fat one ;)

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Yep, weight definitely forward. When the ground is that wet, which is every time I play at the moment in UK, I'm concentrating on having my hands in front of the ball at impact. 

Go 'niners! "BLUDGEON!"

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Just a thought, but sometimes a choked down, shorter swing,  3w or 5w can work well in wet, sloppy conditions. 

I don't usually play in those types of conditions, but when I do, I have no problem reaching for one of my metal woods. It's kind of a 1/2 - 3/4 swing punch shot for me. Lots of carry, and much less roll. 

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On March 8, 2016 at 4:26 PM, Suchmo said:

You say that the pitching method you advocate goes out the window on sloppy mud... Would you advise not pitching at all and just a mixture of chips and fuller shots, or have I misinterpreted you?

You've not misinterpreted, no. You have to make the best of it - hit the ball before the mud and try very very very hard to do so cleanly. Catch the ball fat and it's sayonara.

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