The greatest games of golf are not played in great weather. The mark of a truly great golfer is one who is not rattled by weather and can still stay consistent in whatever weather types that mother nature throws at him. However, everyone knows that playing the game of golf on wet ground is difficult and can hamper your ability to perform your “normal” set of golf.
How do you play golf on wet ground? To play golf on damp ground, you need to plan, make observations of the course, and adapt your playing style and attitude. Some strategies for playing golf on the wet ground include scouting the weather out, swinging within yourself, using more club on approach, checking the greenside conditions, and keeping a positive attitude.
However, playing the game of golf on wet conditions and wet ground can help you to play more within yourself and take your time. This essential guide will give you the best tips and tricks from PGA tour professionals about how to approach a day of golf on wet ground, how to plan for it, and how to play on it.
Why Is It More Difficult To Play Golf On Wet Ground?
According to one of golf’s most famous players from history, Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones wrote about soft golf courses that, “There can be little question that the great mass of golfers in the United States prefers their greens very soft. Such a condition makes the play much easier for all classes of players. It is, in a great measure, responsible for the fact that tournament scoring is uniformly lower in the United States than on seaside links in the British Isles.”
If the score of professional tournament play is affected by wet conditions, the amateur or novice golfer will struggle mightily. Some of the reasons for it being more difficult to play golf on the damp ground include things that happen only in wet weather. These things include “plugged” balls, feeling that you have to hit “thin” shots, less roll on the fairway, more damage to the grass with carts, and even makes chip shots much more difficult.
Playing Golf On Wet Ground: “Plugged” Balls
You just hit one of your best shots of the day, and as it sails, you are confident that this is the hole where you start to make your move at a personal best on the course. However, the ball strikes the fairway and only bounces a few feet from where it landed. Wet conditions on the golf course can be terrible for golfers who rely on the bounce and roll of the fairway to carry their drives.
A strong indication that the conditions of the wet ground are hampering your playing ability is when the ball is “plugged.” When you go to your second shot, a plugged ball will be a ball that is either partially or entirely covered with moisture and grass particles. Plugged balls indicate that the wet ground is affecting your golf game and that you should consider changing your approach for that day.
Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Feeling You Have To Hit “Thin” Instead Of “Fat” Shots
When striking the ball during your shot, the term for how much blade you use to strike the ball is described as “fat” or “thin.” A fat shot is one in which the club is hitting the ground before hitting the ball. A fat shot off of the wet soil can be disturbing as you will probably pull up a tuft of grass and barely get any power into your shot. With this in the back of your mind, golfers ten to shoot “thin” shots off of the wet ground. A thin shot is a shot where you are striking the top half of the ball and usually causes a low line of a shot that tends to slice.
How To Fix A Thin and Fat Shot
Unfortunately, the fear of hitting a fat shot on the wet ground of a golf course is a real fear that many golfers have. Overcompensating to a thin shot is not the answer, but many use this approach to make the shot feel better. According to an article in Golf Digest Magazine, professional golfer Jeff Ritter describes in detail a drill that you can do. The drill should help you to work on adapting to wet ground conditions and keep your swing accurate.
During a practice range session, Ritter says there are two drills to work on for fat and thin shots. The first drill is to move your left shoulder downwards in the direction of the ball during your backswing. Once this feels comfortable, start to adjust the second part of the swing in which you should rotate the right shoulder in the direction of the ball during your downswing. Rotate your lower body to the course of your shot aim before you make this shoulder move on the downswing. These two drills will help you to fix hitting the fat and thin swings and keep you more consistent on your downswing. Combine these two drills, and eventually, you want to focus on weight distribution. Ritter says you want to watch out for your weight moving too far in the direction of either your toes or your heels.
Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Damaging The Golf Course WIth Carts Driving On Wet Ground
We all want to keep our course looking and feeling as lovely as possible. Playing on the course during wet ground conditions can hurt the course in ways that may take weeks to fix. One of the worst things that you can do to damage your golf course in wet weather and ground conditions is to drive a cart.
Walking that day or using a hand cart may be your best option. If these options don’t work for you and you have to use a cart to get around the course, consider being very careful with how and where you drive. Instead of driving out onto the fairway, as usual, keep the cart parked on the cart path and walk out to where you shot is. Stay as far away from the green and approach area as you can. Hitting a wet shot out of tire tread tracks can make a difficult shot almost impossible!
Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Tough Approach Shots
Approach shots by novice players are usually very fat. Getting under the ball gives a sense of security that you can spin and reasonably land the ball. But, in wet ground conditions, a fat shot is going to go nowhere.
All of your momentum with the club and power transfers into the mud or the ground in front of the ball. Instead, a robust approach shot in wet ground conditions should be done just like hitting out of a fairway bunker. Hit the ball first and keep you approach a little on the firm side to ensure a definite hit and finish with your swing.
What Are The Best Tips And Tricks For Playing Golf On Wet Ground?
The game of golf is already challenging. Even in the right weather conditions on perfect course conditions, the game of golf can humble even the best professional players. So, when the ground is wet, the game can be downright frustrating. The problematic nature of wet ground while playing golf makes it essential to know the best tips and tricks.
You will need to adjust your game, plan for differences, and accept the downfall of your game in damp ground conditions. Some of the best tricks and tips for playing golf off of wet ground include planning for wetness ahead of the day you are playing. You should also keep your swing steady, use more club on approach shots, take note of green and green shots, and maintain a positive attitude.
Tip #1 For Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Preparing For Wet Conditions
The worst thing that you can do when the ground is wet on the golf course is being caught unprepared. There are several things that you can always keep in your golf bag that will help you to play a better game of golf on wet ground. These tools that will help you to play a better game on the damp ground of the golf course include an extra towel, an extra pair of rain gloves, a waterproof rain jacket, and cleat cleaner or pick.
Cleat Cleaner Or Pick
A cleat cleaner is a pick or brush that you can bring with you to pick the mud and brush away the grass clumps that may build up on the cleats of your golf shoes as you play in wet ground conditions. These types of picks and brushes help to keep your golf shoes clean from the grass and mud that can build up on the soles during your play and are available for a small price and with clips that keep them accessible and on your golf bag at all times.
An Extra Towel
Having a towel attached to the outside of your golf bag is a must even in the best conditions to wipe away mud and dirt from clubs. However, it is a good idea to have a second extra towel in your garment pocket on your golf bag for when weather conditions get wet. You can wipe your hands with extra cloth on your bag.
You could even use the extra towel for your clubs, balls, and also tops of your shoes. Keeping your grip and hands dry are a priority as this directly affects how you swing your club. You should have an extra towel in wet ground conditions just for your hands and grip to give you the best chance at consistently swinging the golf club.
Most golfers like a thin leather golf glove for their lead hand when swinging usually. However, when the weather gets bad, you might want to consider having rain gloves that fit onto each of your hands.
Some rain gloves for golfers include the RainGrip and the Callaway Opti Grip, which each are breathable, water-resistant, and dry quickly. Having an extra pair of rain gloves in your bag can help you to maintain a secure grip during even the worst wet ground conditions as you play your game of golf in poor weather.
Waterproof Rain Jacket
Having a light and collapsible rain slicker in the garment pocket of your golf bag is a great idea. You want something that can be pulled out in a moment’s notice and used to keep you dry. Wet clothes can negatively impact your swing and your overall game. Also, being damp and cold during a game of golf can negatively impact your attitude.
A negative attitude makes the game less fun and much harder for you to concentrate, affecting your game and score. Some of the best lightweight rain jackets and slickers are the breathable Columbia jacket, the Hydrolite Jacket, and the Climastorm packable jacket by Adidas. All of these jackets are lightweight and breathable.
They are also packable, which is excellent for keeping them in your golf bag pocket ready and waiting for that rainy round of golf that you weren’t expecting. Don’t be caught off guard and get wet because you weren’t prepared for the weather with a jacket in your bag!
Tip #2 For Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Swing Within Yourself
If you are playing in wet conditions, you may feel that you need to swing harder to get good contact and to make the ball go as far as it usually would in dry conditions. This is due to several factors that include no roll after the initial bounce of your shot and that it is tougher to hit good shots if you are used to hitting fat stroke shots.
A good tip is to swing with 10-20% less in your swing and instead for good solid contact. This can help you to hit the ball right. If you turn with more control, you will play with better confidence over your accuracy. The worst thing you can do in wet conditions is overswing and mis-hit into worse conditions in the rough. Do yourself a favor and keep your swing minimal and less powerful and focus on keeping your rhythm consistent and accurate in wet ground conditions.
Tip #3 For Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Use A Larger Club Size On Your Approach Shots To The Hole
When you are playing in wet conditions, the ground of the green will be much more receptive and sticky. So, the approach can land directly on the green and be sure to roll less. This means that you can club up and use a larger club size on approach shots to try and hit the green in the air.
For example, if you hit 150 yards with a 9-iron and plan on bouncing up to the green in a few bounces, this may not work in wet ground conditions. Instead, club up to an eight and hit the ball directly at the green. You will be surprised how much a damp green will help a ball to stay put and stick to that initial bounce position.
Using a club-up on approach can also help you to swing lighter and swing within yourself to make sure that you are giving the shot 100% accuracy.
Tip #4 For Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Take Note Of the Greenside Conditions
Because wet conditions affect the green so much, you will want to take a closer look and scout out the greenside terms before even teeing off. Also, take a look at the green terms right before you begin to put them on. You may need to hit your putts a little harder, rely less on the slopes and speeds downhill. Finally, don’t rely on the loft as much as a pitch and run approach. This is because the roll is softer, and the loft will stick more and be less likely to control.
Another thing that clubbing up to hit a bump and run shot does is give the clubface so that you don’t dig into the ground and hit such a fat shot, which will reduce power and throw off your swing momentum and your shot accuracy.
Tip #5 For Playing Golf On Wet Ground: Stay Positive
Getting wet and being stuck in a storm while playing golf is not a great time. Wet ground conditions can make for a difficult day of golf for any player, professional or amateur. Keep in mind that the fear of a bad shot because of the conditions can hurt your game even more. Also, doing things that keep you in a positive state of mind can help you to overcome the intimidation factor of the wet conditions.
Changing your expectations as to score, drive length, and approach shots can help you to adapt to the conditions and make good swing and club choices as well as keep you upbeat and positive enough to still enjoy the game that you love. Stay positive and understand that the bad breaks and poor overall performance on one hole can change with your next stroke.
You just have to stay positive and rely on your range practice and the tools at your disposal. Ultimately, keep trying to have fun! No one expects you to have your best game in bad conditions on the golf course.
What Are Some Workout Routines That Can Help Control The Golf Swing
When you are playing in wet conditions, you want to back off of your swing 10%-20%. This is not easy for everyone and if you are having trouble with controlling your swing, you may need to work on a few key muscle groups including your shoulders and obliques(side abdominals) muscles in order to execute the kind of swing and shot that is ideal for when you are playing golf on wet ground.
What Are The Oblique Muscles?
Oblique muscles are the side abdominals and are the largest longest abdominals in your core muscles. When you have strong oblique muscles, they can help your posture and aid in supporting your back. Oblique muscles help you to turn and twist, which are key motions in the golf swing(http://www.golfloopy.com/oblique-muscles/).
There are a pair of oblique muscles in your core, one on the right and left side of your central abdominals. The obliques include the top part of the muscle known as the external obliques and the bottom part of the muscle group under the external obliques known as the internal obliques.
The obliques cross the midsection from the rib cage to the pubic section of the body in a diagonal design and are responsible for creating the twisting and bending motions from the waist and lower back.
Why Do Oblique Muscles Help With Controlling Your Golf Swing?
When you swing your golf club, you coil up like a spring and then release that tension and power on the ball. Your oblique muscles are responsible for allowing your body to twist and coil up into this position. The upswing coils and elongates or stretches the obliques and then your obliques work with the psoas major contract like you are doing a crunch sit-up to help you to extend your pelvis, maintain chest position over the ball and downswing the power of your club into the ball for a clean and powerful shot. The obliques are central to this motion and the stronger your obliques are, the better your swing will be and the more control you will have on your swing. Strong obliques will allow you to effortlessly scale back your swing percentage of power when the wet ground conditions call for it.
What Are Exercises To Strengthen The Obliques?
There are two crucial exercises that can help to strengthen your obliques: The lunge and twist and the side plank.
The Lunge and Twist
Holding the golf club in the crutch of your bent arms like a hug, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. With one foot, lunge out keeping your weight evenly dispersed and your lead kee behind your foot. When you reach the end of the lunge length, gently turn and twist the club so that it is facing directly up into the air. Hold this position. Bring the club back and step the lunge back. Do this on the other leg. Continue for 3 sets of ten repetitions on each leg.
The Side Plank
Planks are known to be great for the abdominals. Keeping your abs tightened for a prolonged amount of time will help your posture and keep your back straight. With a side plank, wrest your elbow and forearm on the ground. Gently raise your hips and knees off of the ground and create a straight diagonal line with the center of your body.
Hold this position carefully for up to 1 minute or longer(shorter, if you need). Release gently and then turn over onto the other side. Repeat the side plank for the other set of oblique muscles for an even workout.
Playing golf in wet ground conditions is not ideal. The game of golf is difficult in good weather and even professional players struggle when it gets wet. The best tips include being prepared with the right gear to keep you and your clubs dry, keeping a positive attitude and knowing that your game will be impacted by wet ground, and making sure that your swing is strong and consistent so that you can hit a clean shot that will keep you in the middle of the fairway.
Finally, consider scouting out the greens and be ready to play slower greens that will not roll or bounce well. Clubbing up on all shots will help you to approach in the air, to bump and run on chips and to swing with less needed intensity on drives. Altogether, the essential advice for playing golf in wet conditions and on wet ground include being gentle with the game and yourself.
After all, no one expects your best game in the rain!
- “Wet Conditions Are Not Good For The Game – USGA.” 16 Sep. 2016, https://www.usga.org/course-care/forethegolfer/wet-conditions-are-not-good-for-the-game.html. Accessed 27 Mar. 2020.