If you ever watch a playing pro in a practice round you will learn a lot. We tend to look back from the green at the fairway and decide where is the best place to be for our approach shot into the green. What will be the best angle with less trouble and where is the fairway the widest.
I carried an orange highlighter to mark my yardage book of places i don’t want to be. We’ll check both sides of the fairway – sometimes from fertilizing the grass and then cutting the fairways smaller for the event one side is left with the deepest, nastiest rough that you would not want to be in. Many times around the greens there are places that have impossible deep grass for a par conversion if you miss the green.
You will see us hitting bunker shots from likely bunkers we may be in during the week. We’ll chip and putt around the whole green to check breaks and grain of the greens.
Also we will putt to areas of the green where we believe the holes will be cut for difficult pin positions during the event.
On par 3’s we will hit a number of balls to different places on the green in anticipation of the tough pin placements during the week.
When you hit a good tee shot with your driver on a par 4 or 5 ” Do Not hit another on”. I’ve seen it happen with myself and other pros where we hit too many tee shots in a practice round and then in the first round on that hole we can’t help remembering that horrible hook from the day before and sure enough….. Keep your pictures/images good and positive.
A little Course Management
How many times have you and your playing partner hit a driver on every hole that is not a par three? Why? You have water on the right and bunkers or OB on the left, or simply the hole is a short one with loads of trouble. Manage like a tour pro. So you hit a 3 or 5 wood or a 3 iron and stay safe and have maybe a 5 or 7 iron in—or 2 five woods, it sure beats the penalty shots. Beat your gambling partner and play smart.
It is all about risk and reward. On a difficult hole take your par or bogey or double and go to the next with confidence. How many ‘rookie pros’ or the average amateur loses his/her momentum with a bad hole? Too many too count is the answer. Keep your score lower with intelligent decisions from the tee box.
As a playing professional for my paycheck we lie in bed at night playing all 18 holes in our minds, just as a formula 1 driver will do for his race track that week. Do we full throttle here and be careful there!! Where is there big trouble for me to lay back and make a simple par. I like the words ‘lay back’ and not ‘lay up’, think about it.
Let’s not get into trouble when we don’t need to. Always know your yardage (implies how far you hit each club) and always focus + target = don’t just lay up there somewhere in the fairway. Maybe the flagstick is tucked right and the better approach would be from the left!
Where is my most accurate shot from? Even ‘tour pros’ love the 100 yrd number, where’s best for you? The closer the better for me cuz I always worked the scoring shots, overlap of 2-3 clubs and in 5 yard increments. Scoring shots for me were 140 yrds and in to the flag. From closer i like to target the hole. Some pros will try to hit the flag and spin it back, depends of course the green/wind.
To be cont……
How many of you fellow golfers would tee it up in the rain? You don’t play during rainy season? On Tour we have to play in the rain until the greens are unputtable or the fairways are underwater. We get wet! How do we play to the best of our ability in the rain?
We don’t wear our leather footjoys, but a good waterproof pair of shoes and of course our rain suit. I always like to carry two umbrellas so the caddy could have one and I could walk alone under my own. Under my brolli I hang a dry towel and my wet gloves to dry. I also take my glove off after each shot and hang it under my umbrella. Yes, I always carry a few all-weather gloves for these days when wet leather ones became useless. Naturally I have several dry towels and in a plastic bag many extra gloves– even old dry practice gloves are better than wet new ones. Save your old gloves for a rainy day.
Another reason I use cord or half-cord grips on my woods and long irons is for less slippage with full power during wet conditions. In practice though, they will hurt the office hands, but make the strong ones stronger.
The chip ‘n’ runs don’t work well when the greens are wet, so use the sand wedge and pitch the ball straight to the hole. Wet fairways cause a lot of ‘fat shots’, as the ground is softer a slight miss-hit will send the club deeper into the turf. Avoid this by standing slighter further away from the ball at address.
Casual water allows you a free drop. Your ball lies in casual water or when you take your stance and you see water = free drop to the nearest dry area and no closer to the hole. However you can’t stand on one leg and jump up and down to draw the water out! In a sand bunker the same thing applies, but you must drop your ball in the bunker at the nearest dry area no closer to the hole.
When your ball lies on the green and there is water visible on the line of your putt you are allowed to move it an equal distance from the hole to a dry portion of the green.
I seem to outplay 80% of fellow professionals in the rain because I am prepared, but mainly because I focus better, becoming more deleiberate. I get wet yes, but I have never been one to get depressed because it’s raining. I hope that some of these wet weather tips and rules will help you on the course in the coming rainy season.