Watch Out for Fliers

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Final RoundKnowing when a flier is possible can be the difference between a birdie and a bogey or even worse!

The first indicator of whether the shot maybe a flier is the length of the grass your ball is in. If your ball is in taller than normal grass like rough there is a good chance it could be a flier. It only has to be tall enough to be able to get in between your ball and clubface. Another indicator is the wetness of the area around your ball. If enough moisture gets between the ball and the clubface this can also create a flier.

Once you know that the shot may turn into a flier, now you need to know how to compensate for it. A flier is a shot that has less backspin than normal and usually has a lower trajectory. This creates a shot that rolls farther and may land farther also. The best thing to do is to take less club to compensate for the added distance.

Chip Shots vs. Pitch Shots

golf-ball-cupChip Shot

A chip shot is meant to be a low trajectory shot with minimal spin. The goal is to get the ball on the green as soon as possible and have the ball roll to the hole like a putt. To hit a chip shot you want to use as little wrists and possible almost like a putt. The club head should never get above your hands.

Pitch Shot

A pitch shot is meant to be a higher trajectory shot with more spin. The goal is to land the ball closer to the hole and due to the spin and trajectory the ball will stop closer to the original spot at which the ball landed. To hit a pitch shot you now want to use your wrists. The club head should get above your hands now in order to create spin and trajectory.

Playing in the Wind

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Round Three

Against The Wind

Playing into the wind will typically decrease distance and increase spin. This creates a shot that will go shorter and stop sooner than a usual shot. Playing into the wind will also in magnify certain shots. For example, a cut may turn into a slice or a draw may turn into a hook.

Strategies for playing against the wind involve…

  • Moving the ball back in the stance to create a lower trajectory
  • Playing a stronger club to compensate for the lost distance
  • During the forward swing make sure your hands are well ahead of the ball at impact to create lower trajectory

With The Wind

Playing with the wind with typically increase distance and decrease spin. This creates a shot that will go further and roll farther than a usual shot. Playing with the wind also make it harder to curve the ball. A typical cut or draw may go straight instead of curving at all.

Strategies with for playing with the wind involve…

  • Playing a weaker club to compensate for the gained distance
  • Land your approach shots shorter than usual to compensate for less spin
  • While hitting off the tee, tee the ball higher and stay behind the ball through the shot to increase the trajectory to maximize on gained distance

Defining the Teeing Ground

According to the USGA the definition of the teeing ground is: “The starting place for the hole to be played. It is a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee-markers. A ball is outside the teeing ground when all of it lies outside the teeing ground. When a player is putting a ball into play from the teeing ground, it must be played from within the teeing ground and from the surface of the ground or from a conforming tee in or on the surface of the ground.”

Although the ball has to be inside the teeing ground you may stand outside the teeing ground while striking the ball that is inside the teeing ground. If you play a ball from outside the teeing ground, you incur a penalty of two strokes and must re-tee a ball from within the teeing ground. So next time you are ready to tee off, make sure your ball is in the teeing ground!

Did You Address the Ball?

The USGA says “A player has “addressed the ball” when he has grounded his club immediately in front of or immediately behind the ball, whether or not he has taken his stance.”

This means you can take a stroke and strike the ball without ever actually addressing the ball. There are already a few times that you may have done this without ever knowing it. For example, while hitting the ball out of the bunker, or hitting the ball out of a lateral or water hazard.

This can come in handy in a situation when you think that the ball may move by grounding the club or by other circumstances. If you prepare to strike the ball by hovering your club behind the ball instead of grounding it you are not addressing the ball. If the ball moves you would not incur a one stroke penalty.  Under rule 18-2b “If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke.”

Keep Your Grooves Clean

Contrary to popular belief grooves do not put spin on the golf ball when you strike it. It is a clean face and loft that puts spin on the ball but it is the clean grooves that help make the face clean when you strike the ball. When you strike the golf ball, grass, dirt, and water are supposed to go into the grooves so that the golf ball makes as clean contact with the face of the golf club as possible. If the grooves are not clean – all of that grass, dirt, and water will be in between the golf ball and the face of the club.

To clean the grooves of a club it is best to use a tee or other special groove cleaning tool. If you keep your grooves clean the ball will spin and be more predictable from shot to shot.

What To Do If You Lost Your Ball

According to Rule 27-1 from the USGA you have five minutes to search for your ball. This time starts from when you actually start searching for the ball. If you do not find the ball within five minutes the ball is lost whether you find it after the five minutes or not. You must play a ball as close to the spot at which the original ball was played while also incurring a one stroke penalty.

Whenever you hit a shot and you are unsure of whether or not you will be able to find your golf ball, you are allowed to hit a second shot from the same spot. This shot is called a provisional. The purpose of this shot is for in the event that your ball is deemed lost you would not have to go all the way back to the original spot to hit another shot because you already did. If your ball is lost, you would then play the provisional ball to finish out the hole. You would still incur the same penalty as if you had to go back and hit another shot after you lost your ball.

Next time if you are unsure if you can find your ball, hit a provisional just in case. It could save you some valuable time.

Ways to Grip the Golf Club

Baseball Grip/Ten-Finger Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the top hand index finger and bottom hand pinky finger are side by side touching each other. This grip is recommended for people with weak hands and wrists. It gives your hands the most freedom to turn the club over.

Interlocking Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the top hand index finger and bottom hand pinky finger interlocking each other. This is recommended for people with small hands. This grip unifies the hands the most out of the three different styles. This cuts down on wrist movement. This grip is good for people who have have active wrists.

Overlapping Grip / Vardon Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the bottom hand pinky finger on top of the crease between the top hand index finger and middle finger. This is a popular grip for golfers with large hands. This grip is a good medium of the previous two grips. It unifies the hands but also keeps them free at the same time.

Play From the Right Set of Tees

What set of tees should you play from? Most of the time when there is a group of guys they all seem to decide to play from the back tees. Is it really fun to always be hitting long irons, hybrids, or even woods into the green?

You are there to have fun, right? There is no shame to play from a shorter set of tees. Play from the set of tees that make it fun but still a little challenging. For example, if you hit the ball 275+ yards every drive it is okay to play the back tees. If you drive the ball 225 every time you would not have as much fun playing from the back tees as the longer hitter.

The different sets of tees are meant to even the playing field for shorter and longer hitters. They are not meant for a specific age range or gender.

Golfing in the Rain

Most people will try to avoid it but sooner or later every golfer finds themselves in the rain every once in a while. When this circumstance arises it is best to be prepared. When you are prepared, you will not worry about the rain as much and have a clear head.

When golfing in the rain keeping dry is the key. An umbrella and a towel is a must. Other rain gear like rain gloves, rain pants, and a rain jacket are very helpful also.

Change with the course. When the course starts to get wet and the rain is coming down the course plays differently. The ground is softer so this makes golf shots plug or stick close to where they first hit. This also means that the greens will be slower. The wet conditions will also decrease the spin that you can put of golf shots due to the water on the club face and golf ball.

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