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I Am Not a Mudder, Are You?





mud·der | \ˈmədə(r)\

plural -s

Definition of mudder 

1 : a race horse that runs well on a wet or muddy track

2 : a player or a team (as in football) that performs well on a wet field


After my final round of 2018, I was thinking about the course conditions the past month or so.  While we have had relatively mild weather, it has been wet.  I don’t do particularly well in wet and muddy conditions.  I play in all sorts of weather: hot, windy, cold, rainy.  Of all the conditions, a wet course presents the greatest challenge for me.  I am not a mudder.


For me, four factors create a mudder: distance, ball striking, patience and equipment


Distance: Wet & soggy courses result in no roll out.  Unless one hits the ball for good distance off the tee, the course becomes too long to consistently score.  If on average one loses 20 yards a tee shot (and 2nd shots on par 5’s), a 6,700 yard course becomes effectively 7,000+ yards.  A 6,300 yarder plays to 6,660 yards. Further, that is figuring only 20 yards per shot are lost; often it is 30+ yards.  Of course, moving up one or two tees is an option for casual play but tournament play typically offers no relief.


Ball Striking: Wet turf leaves one little margin for error.  The slightest fat shot will be a disaster.  And the effects of a wet club face and ball compromise distance and spin.  One study on the subject supports the idea [ http://blog.tourspecgolf.com/wet-versus-dry-golf/ ]


Patience:  Wet conditions often results in slower play.  Cleaning clubs, fiddling with umbrellas, getting rulings for casual water all slow things down.  If carts are being used, cart path only is a real time killer. Even the best players are going to find scoring difficult, so patience and a good attitude are crucial. As Bill Belichick recently said when the forecast was for cold and snow: “We aren’t playing against the weather.”


Equipment: A quality rain suit, waterproof shoes, rain gloves and dry towels go a long way toward making soggy conditions more playable.  When one is wet and cold or spending extra time trying to avoid being wet and cold, one game often suffers.  When one is equipped properly, one’s attention can go toward playing golf and not merely surviving.


I have the patience and equipment.  My problems are distance and ball striking.  On a good day I might carry a drive 200 yards.  On a wet day, any hole 400 yards and over becomes a “par 5” for me.  And even the shorter holes find me hitting hybrids and fairway woods for approaches.  Hitting off wet turf is an issue too.  My less than pure strikes result in an increased number of fat shots.  Also, as the “TourSpecGolf” study shows, wet clubs and balls result in shorter carries. 


Of course, I have never been one to give up when conditions get tough.  Sometimes patience can overcome the other factors.  My wife and I used to play in a mixed two-person scramble at a local course.  We typically ended up in the middle of the pack. One year, on our 2nd hole, the skies opened up, sending a lot of couples back to the clubhouse.  My wife asked whether we should go in.  “Hell no”, I said, “over half the field is going to quit.  That just improved the odds of our winning.”  As it turned out, I was correct.  We played on and won.  Maybe my wife is a mudder!  ;)




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Wet conditions require more precision that dry. On dry fairways you can easily have the club bounce a bit and still hit an OK shot. You catch a ball slightly fat when the ground is near saturated and you'll get nothing on the ball. 


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I don't score particularly well in wet condition. Out here we might see 3-4 inches of rain a year. That rain usually comes in the form of thunderstorms and flash flooding. This makes most of the local courses unplayable. I just don't see muddy, wet conditions that much to be bothered by it. 

However when I do play in wet conditions, I tend to use my metal woods in more situations since they have the wider souls, which when used with flatter swings, won't dig in the wet turf as much. I just do the best I can with the tools I have. 

Club selection, while choking down, sometimes up on the club become more important focuses. This helps with most distance concerns.

Putting on wet greens is where I focus the most. Stroke lengths, ball distances, and reads for slower rolls. . 

I have been told I have the patience of a rock. Nothing really bothers me when playing golf. The game is.much, much more than just hitting the ball. Weather, and course conditions also contribute to decisions made when playing  a round for fun, or a score. 

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Playing during the winter months can be brutal.
It often reminds me of when I had to go to work on bitter cold, windy days outside in the elements.
We used to have a saying, "only the needy / greedy and crazy would show up"
Golfing under these conditions I usually tell the guys my story and ask them which type are they.

I always felt I was the latter, but usually make the most of the day enjoying good laughs and hitting an occasional good shot.
It also gives me an opportunity to work on long irons and the short game as hitting GIR doesn't happen often.

I also get to work on sand play often as many shots hang out to the right and find the greenside beaches.

And typically winter conditions mean "Windy" conditions.
Playing during wind gusts which reach 20 - 35 mph create havoc.
It's really scary knowing if I flush this 5 iron from 140 out, adios amigo, been nice knowing you as I reach in the bag for the provisional. 

So as the census suggest as I grow older, "I'm still Crazy after all these years"  :whistle:

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I am not a mudder!   I coached soccer for many years in the cold wet spring and learned to "hate" cold and wet.  Even though cold and wet are not mutually exclusive,   I associate wet with cold and will almost always find something to do to avoid cold and wet.  

Maybe if I lived someplace warm....

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I guess I'm a mudder,  It's tough looking for some of these plugged balls though, lol.  On a positive note, I am getting a little better at choosing which side of the fairway is not as soft


Edited by SteveH

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I've suffered mightily in the past and I am done with it! I detest playing from soaked, sloppy, muddy turf. I watched the AT&T Pebble Beach tourney today and saw some pros hit some juicy, chunky shots despite it being lift, clean and place. If they can't hit those shots, what chance do I have? I told my buddies at the end of the season last year, to not bother calling me to play until early or late May, depending on how the Spring goes. 

Of course, last year was the second wettest year on record, so things were "semi-spongy" the entire Summer. Hoping for a hot, dry Summer this year.

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If I didn't play when it was muddy I'd only be able to play about 4 months a year. If I get used to the wet I can play 10-11 months a year. I am from Southern California originally so I was not a mudder to start. However after all these many years I have developed a game that can withstand the muddy conditions.

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22 hours ago, mchepp said:

If I didn't play when it was muddy I'd only be able to play about 4 months a year. If I get used to the wet I can play 10-11 months a year. I am from Southern California originally so I was not a mudder to start. However after all these many years I have developed a game that can withstand the muddy conditions.

Yes, a resident of the Pacific NW either needs to be a mudder or take up an indoor sport.  Maybe the dry warm conditions of Las Vegas in October will throw off your game!  Already an advantage to the East Team.

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