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Tightly cut fairways harder for amateurs?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Recently read an op-ed in one of the golf mags where the editor opined that courses with the fairway mowed nice and tight are making the game too hard for amateurs.  This makes no sense to me.  Isn't the point of putting your drive down the middle to take advantage of the short grass?  Isn't that why the grass off the fairway gets progressively longer (to be more punitive)?

 

Hitting off a tight lie in the fairway lets me hit irons that hold the green, it lets predict which way the ball will come out and where it will go (assuming a good swing of course), and it lets me work the ball right or left into tucked pins or into the wind.  

 

Why on earth would you want a longer cut?

post #2 of 18
I think amateurs get intimidated by tight pitch shots, because they have been told they need little bounce and to pick it clean. It's a giant myth. Use bounce, welcome the perfect lies, score better.
post #3 of 18

Where I work and play the fairway grass is too long and too thick (for several reasons I won't go into). At this time of year it's even worse because the grass is allowed to grow even longer to avoid winter kill.

 

When I first started playing golf I could hit the ball fairly well at that course because every ball was a flyer and I didn't even know what a flyer was. When I went to a course with tight fairways I was totally lost. I remember one time at Limestone Springs intentionally trying to hit my tee shot in the first cut of rough so I wouldn't have to hit it out of the fairway.

 

Somewhere along the line that changed and the shorter the grass the better and the harder the fairways the better. I have much more consistent impact and MUCH better distance control off of the tightest of lies. For that reason alone I play much better when I go to a "harder and longer course"

 

The high handicap players don't seem to have a problem at all with our fairways. In fact they like them as much as I hate them.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 

Where I work and play the fairway grass is too long and too thick (for several reasons I won't go into). At this time of year it's even worse because the grass is allowed to grow even longer to avoid winter kill.

 

When I first started playing golf I could hit the ball fairly well at that course because every ball was a flyer and I didn't even know what a flyer was. When I went to a course with tight fairways I was totally lost. I remember one time at Limestone Springs intentionally trying to hit my tee shot in the first cut of rough so I wouldn't have to hit it out of the fairway.

 

Somewhere along the line that changed and the shorter the grass the better and the harder the fairways the better. I have much more consistent impact and MUCH better distance control off of the tightest of lies. For that reason alone I play much better when I go to a "harder and longer course"

 

The high handicap players don't seem to have a problem at all with our fairways. In fact they like them as much as I hate them.

Interesting.  Maybe it's easier for players who haven't learned to hit down on the ball and make crisp contact.  I"m the same as you.  I had a couple of approach shots from just off the fairway today off of wet hardpan (just solid dirt, no grass) and they were a couple of the best irons I hit all day.  Ideally I'd like the fairway as tight as a putting green. 

post #5 of 18

I used to prefer being in the rough back when I was under the mistaken impression that I needed to get under the ball. Nowadays, I like the grass as short as possible.

post #6 of 18

Tight lies at my local public course are tough due to the hard clay under the grass. Taking a divot can be difficult at best. I learned subconsciously to pick the ball rather than hit down, due to the negative feedback of hitting the hard ground. The first time I played at a good course (A Bear course in Cincinnati) I was amazed at how easily the grass came up and how easy it was to take a divot. I also found I hit the ball fat a lot when the club can dig in. I still struggle with hitting down on the ball in the correct spot.  

post #7 of 18

A lot of new players think its easier to get under the ball if its sitting up because they havent learned that you must hit down on the ball.

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer View Post

A lot of new players think its easier to get under the ball if its sitting up because they havent learned that you must hit down on the ball.
This.

I think a fluffy lie in longish grass is more forgiving for a player that scoops and sweeps rather than strikes (down). If your low point is back too far on a tight lie your probably ****ed as your divot will likely pass your ball, but if the balls propped up on a cushion of grass that same fat shot will probably still give a halfway decent result provided you don't pass under the ball completely.

Kinda like it's on a tee.
post #9 of 18

EJ summed it up pretty well- there are a lot of mid to higher cappers that prefer it when a ball sits up on a slightly longer fairway because they don't have the swing to make good downward contact consistently enough from tight fairway lies.

 

I am a 6.3 index currently and would say that I find it easier to chip on a less tight lie.  In terms of a full shot, I can go either way, but if the greens are not hard, don't mind having the extra margin for error that a slightly longer fairway can offer.

post #10 of 18

To me its like bunker play. A lot of amateurs hate hitting it into the bunker, I don't mind it. Bunkers give me much better lies than the rough. There is no worrying about is the ball sitting up or down, does the rough grow this way or that way, how thick is the rough. Once you learn how to hit a shot, then you'll realize that those situations are a better miss than others. 

 

I do agree with you on the fluff lie. I loved those lies when i was a higher handicap, now I hate them. Usually I end up hitting the ball high on the clubface and it ends up 10-15 yards short. I rather have the ball down a bit in the rough, so I can hit down on the ball with no worries. 

post #11 of 18

I've never seen a course that purposely keeps the FIR shaggier than it should be unless weather has prevented mowing. The golfer that needs a fluffed lie to hit the ball is going to struggle to hit it from anywhere on the course and probably doesn't hit many FIR. If courses are concerned about not making the course unnecessarily difficult they should pay closer attention to the greens and hole placements. I see more of that than anything.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundandFury View Post

Recently read an op-ed in one of the golf mags where the editor opined that courses with the fairway mowed nice and tight are making the game too hard for amateurs.  This makes no sense to me.  Isn't the point of putting your drive down the middle to take advantage of the short grass?  Isn't that why the grass off the fairway gets progressively longer (to be more punitive)?

Hitting off a tight lie in the fairway lets me hit irons that hold the green, it lets predict which way the ball will come out and where it will go (assuming a good swing of course), and it lets me work the ball right or left into tucked pins or into the wind.  

Why on earth would you want a longer cut?

I agree. I think the only issue would be for amateurs hitting fairway woods off of tight lies.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post


I agree. I think the only issue would be for amateurs hitting fairway woods off of tight lies.

and a lot of short hitting amateurs do this pretty regularly (and also struggle with hybrids and chipping from tight lies).  IMO, most players who don't spin the ball enough to make it stop on greens prefer a bit of fluff- this is a large % of mid to high cappers.

 

Now should a course intentionally accommodate them- that is a different question.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

I think amateurs get intimidated by tight pitch shots, because they have been told they need little bounce and to pick it clean. It's a giant myth. Use bounce, welcome the perfect lies, score better.


Yep.  When I ordered my new wedges, I ordered the super-low bounce 60-degree wedge.  They mistakenly send me a much higher bounce wedge, which I used while I was waiting for the "right" club to come in.  I'm definitely a fan of bounce now. 

post #15 of 18

I think a lot of it depends upon how hard the ground is.  Real firm packed soil does make getting a decent shot off with a fairway or hybrid harder, and I agree that most courses would be well advised to cater to higher handicap players, there's more of them!

 

Personally, I'll take the close grass over a fluffy lie, though I don't want it "as tight as the green" as someone mentioned above.  I actually found myself hitting a pitch from a green a couple of weeks ago and, though I only made a scuff, I felt bad about it and think I could have hit a better shot with a bit more grass under the ball. (Note to grounds staff: Don't set pins where people can't putt to them from everywhere else on the green if you don't want people to do that.)

post #16 of 18

Yes more golfers have to time a "flip" so tight lies aren't going to be as forgiving as a slightly fluffy lie.  Would you rather hit a ball off hardpan or off a tee, similar thinking.  Also faster, tighter fairways might have more balls running into the rough/hazards.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundandFury View Post
 

Recently read an op-ed in one of the golf mags where the editor opined that courses with the fairway mowed nice and tight are making the game too hard for amateurs.  This makes no sense to me.

I'm curious to know who authored the article.  This reads like something a "NON-golfer" would write.......not an editor for a golf magazine. You might consider dropping your subscription after reading such nonsense...LOL

post #18 of 18

I learned to play golf years ago. Despite the fact my friends and caddied at nice country clubs, our clubs

 went against tradition and didn't allow caddies play on Mondays. So, most of us learned to play on public courses. The public fairways were not trimmed as close as the CC fairways, to save $$ on maintenance, and because the turf wasn't fine grained. As someone mentioned, the most reliable shot was a sweep shot.

 

Anyway, when I joined the military, I got to play on well manicured DoD courses. It took me six months to learn how to hit irons off of a close-cut fairway. I had to hit down on the ball more, and could without hurting my hands. Usually got a nice high shot, or a thin shot that went tooooo far.

 

Even today, I see some of this when hitting FWs. People fortunate enough to play Florida courses in the spring say it's difficult to hit FWs because the lie is so tight. Last year when I had RBZ FWs, I could hit them well off a tee or the first cut of rough (cushioning under the ball). But, I had trouble getting the ball up off the fairway (and trouble with hooks not related to lie).

 

This year I switched to TE Exotics XRail version - a GI fairway wood - and had much better results off of tight lies. I use a 4W and 7W. (I hit down slightly on FWs now, rather than sweeping them).

 

Possibly GI or SGI irons might give average golfers better results because the heads have higher bounce.

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