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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hitting Out of Mud

With all the wet weather we have this time of year -- at least in the Northern Hemisphere -- I thought it might be time to think about hitting your ball out of muddy lies.

Here's a video I found from teacher Mel Sole:

Clearly this is about short game play. Mel's three tips are:
  1. Use your sand wedge (the bounce helps prevent digging)
  2. Move the ball back in your stance so you don't hit it fat
  3. Turn your lower body more during contact (I'm guessing this is to flatten out the bottom of your swing, again to help prevent digging)
Can we use these tips to help us with our full shots as well? I think so.

Clearly we can't use our sand wedges on long shots, but the idea of using a club that won't dig as much is valid. Hybrids and fairway woods have wider soles than most irons, so those clubs will be easier to hit from the muck. (Of course, I've seen some irons with very wide soles even in the mid-irons. If you have them, they should work well also.)

Moving the ball back in your stance is self-explanatory. Clearly you can't move it back as far when you're using a longer club -- especially a hybrid or fairway wood -- but you can move the ball back a little more than usual. Remember that this will help you make better contact, but it will also make the ball come out lower than usual. You'll need to take more club.

As for turning your body more during contact... This can be a bit tricky with the longer clubs in sloppy weather. The more you turn your body on your backswing, the more likely it is that your feet will slip when you start down. So think short game. With the longer clubs you'll want to shorten your backswing -- which, as I said, means you'll be using more club than normal. You won't need to move your feet so much with a shorter backswing, so you'll be less likely to twist and slip. And with both a shorter backswing and a better "grip" on the ground, it will be much easier to turn fully through the shot.

Stability is probably the biggest problem in muddy conditions. If you approach your round as if it was a huge short game session, you'll probably be much happier with your results. Just don't be surprised if you take more shots than usual. After all, you can't hit it as far when the course is sloppy.

And don't forget to clean the grooves on your clubs more frequently.

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