Some of the best golf courses in the US are smack dab in the middle of deserts. For many of us, these are great vacation spots, but we often find difficulty playing on such dry, arid courses.
Being fit is something that will help you handle any situation much better, and How to Break 80 will get you in proper shape to take the edge off in the desert:
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of desert golf course play.
Planning to play your first round on a desert course? Be prepared because many of these courses do not allow metal spikes to worn. If your golf shoes have metal spikes, you call ahead to see if you can wear them on the course you intend to play.
Some desert courses have what is known as the “desert rule”. This rule keeps players from wandering off into the natural desert, which can be risky on many levels. In general, the desert rule is played the same as a water hazard rule would be played elsewhere. Player takes a one stroke penalty and will drop the ball within 2 club lengths of the entry point.
Most golf courses that are located in or right next to a desert environment do not allow players to drive in to the desert itself. This is to protect both the golfer and the desert.
Playing a desert course may mean running into some exotic and sometimes dangerous creatures. If you have to go looking for a ball in the rocks or bushes, use a club to search for it. Never use your hand since you can’t know what animal or insect is taking a nap in there.
Desert golf courses can get very hot during the day. They may break the 100-degree mark! You will need to have plenty of water with you as well as a good sunscreen. Itis always best to play with someone else in case of an emergency.
Remember that being golf fit can also help take the edge off in conditions such as these.
If you begin to feel faint or your vision begins to blur, seek help quickly, and get out of the heat. This could be the beginning of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
You may notice, depending on the course you are playing, that your ball seems to go farther in this climate. Dry air offers little resistance (drag) to golf balls, and they can travel a bit farther if hit properly.
This type of climate can also cause the ball to roll farther once it lands on the fairway. All of this may require you to make a few adjustments with your club
selection. Long shots are great unless they happen to fly over your target!
A good tip to remember when playing a desert course is that balls tend to break toward water. Many desert courses have man-made lakes and ponds on them, and your ball may break toward them once you get on the green.
On the other hand, many desert courses are located near mountain ranges, and balls may tend to break away from those. Use these two tips to sink more putts.
Desert courses often contain some very unique features, many of which involve sand. For this reason, you may want to consider changing up your clubs a bit. Carrying a couple of wedges (the sand wedge and the lob wedge, for example) is often a very good idea as these lofted clubs come in handy.
All in all, playing a desert golf course can be challenging and fun if you are prepared for the adventure.
If you are not sure about a course’s dress requirements or another issue, contact them before you begin your journey.
It is better to know what to expect than to be surprised and not allowed to play.
Remember that being golf fit can also help take the edge off in conditions such as these.
Fescue is a lot of things, tall, pretty, Scottish…and annoying, infuriating, terrifying.
Chances are you don’t play links courses very often, which means that when you do, you probably have no idea what to do when you get trapped in the fescue.
The first thing you need to do is let go of any hopes of being a hero.
First off, a golfer’s mindset when getting out of the fescue needs to be to take your medicine and accept the fact that you’re giving up a stroke….unless you get a lucky lie and have room to swing.To take a high-lofted wedge, and find the shortest line that leads you straight back into the fairway.
To assure a good exit from the tall, gnarly grass, you need to have speed.
To get a little extra clubhead speed. Cocking your wrists a little earlier and more aggressively in the back swing.
This not only helps to dig the ball out of the fescue,but also helps stabilize the face angle upon collision with the grass. Fescue is notorious for grabbing the club and closing the face, causing pulls.”
Once you’re successfully out of the fescue, you need to forget about what just happened. There’s no benefit in lamenting the punishment the fescue just dolled out.
The Golden Rule in good course management: Never follow up one mistake with another,
Take what the course gives you and play on
You need to loft one, but you catch it in the teeth
Faced with a short pitch over a bunker, your plan is to throw the ball up in the air and stop it fast. Instead, the leading edge of your wedge slams into the middle of the ball and sends it over the green. It’s the "hitting it in the teeth."
Many people think the cause of this sickening shot is falling onto the back foot during the downswing in an attempt to lift the ball over the bunker. That’s part of it, but the real culprit is the breakdown, or cupping, of the left wrist through impact.
To hit it high, you want your left arm and the shaft in a line at impact, pointing straight down to the ball. Your wedge has lots of loft, so you don’t have to try to add more by scooping, which causes the left wrist to cup and the club to swing up at the ball.
This problem often can be traced to a short backswing, resulting from tension. Feel your wrists stay passive going back and move your lead arm and the shaft together to the ball.
Another cause of the left wrist breaking down is a lazy through-swing. You want more speed coming through—think crisp—for soft pitches that stop fast. Your ball will thank you.
Maybe you’ve had a few good holes and you’re starting to feel the pressure of carding a great round. Or maybe you’re four down in a match against your buddy and need to win a couple to regain some self-respect.
Regardless, when you start to feel pressure, your swing can take a turn for the worse. A lot of the reasoning behind this is that when you feel pressure, you get tense.
A common mistake people who are under pressure make is looking at the target for a short time, and looking at the ball for a long time.
The longer you spend looking at the ball, the longer you have to tighten your grip or tense up your shoulders. That’s not doing your swing any favors. That moment you first address the ball is when you’re most loose and in more of a natural athletic stance.
To ensure that you swing from that position, stand over the ball, look at the target for a few few moments, look back at the ball, and immediately start your swing after you’ve grounded your club.moments, look back at the ball, and immediately start your swing after you’ve grounded your club.
Stand behind the ball and grip the club with your left hand only. It’s simple: Just grab the handle without looking. This sets your left hand in its natural power position. Wrist angle varies from player to player
Depending on your anatomy, your left wrist will be either flat or flexed . What’s important is that you maintain your left wrist position as you swing. Changing it disrupts your hitting instinct. Take note of the flex and accept it.
Put your right hand on the club and take your address, maintaining the position of your left wrist. Take a last look at the target and start back. Have no fear—you’re one step away from catching the ball smack on the sweet spot!
As you swing to the top, hold the left-wrist angle you established when you first gripped the club with your left hand. Don’t manipulate your left wrist or “flatten” it like many experts advise. When it comes to big hits, your body knows best!
Aggressive swings are rewarded in greenside bunkers. Accelerating through impact is a must. Of course, when you’re all square in a tight match and you face a greenside bunker shot with little green to work with, it’s hard to convince yourself to be aggressive. Here are some keys to remember when you’re in a bunker and the pressure’s on.
Any time you have a tight pin location, you need spin to stop the ball close. Play the ball slightly farther forward than usual to encourage a shallower arc through the sand.
The less sand there is between the ball and the clubface, the more spin you’ll generate. To avoid moving laterally or forward and hitting the shot too fat or thin, keep your sternum centered at address and throughout the swing.
To create a lot of shot-stopping spin, play the ball slightly farther forward than you normally would.
It’s tempting to slow your swing under pressure, but that’s the last thing you want to do—it takes speed to create spin. Turn your chest back together with your arms and the club, then aggressively rotate your chest to the target on the downswing. This will prevent your body from stalling and the clubhead from outracing your hands. If you keep your arms and the club connected to your chest and use your turn to power the clubhead through the sand, you’ll knock it close!