Junior Golf: A Wet Golf Ball

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will examine what a wet golf ball means for your junior golfer. Moisture is always somewhere on the golf course and it does affect your son’s shots. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Winning golf is about a lot of things and 1 is knowing or at least having a decent idea of how the golf ball will be impacted by different conditions and today we mean moisture. During play your son’s ball can get wet by being rained on, being in morning dew or really heavy air or just by being somewhere that a leak or sprinkler left some wet grass. These situations can be approached similarly, but with subtle differences.

Let’s start on a wet green. Expect the ball to roll slower, meaning your son may need to strike it harder than if the green was dry and the ball likely will break less than it would if the green was dry. Always wipe all moisture from the putter face before addressing the ball. Practice strokes put water on the club face and this water prevents the ball from cleanly contacting the putter face. The ball will not roll properly if the face or the ball is wet. The ball can be marked and cleaned, on the green, and if it is not raining you can have a dry ball and dry club face and expect to get the desired proper roll from your putt. S3’s recent college tournament at The Tribute Golf Club had very heavy morning dew on the 2nd day. At the practice green I asked him if the dew had slowed the putts. His response, “Not much, if at all, on these greens.” So beware, some greens are still very fast even when damp.

There is so much to be learned from watching professional golf tournaments when it is raining. I saw this exact scenario multiple times during a tournament a couple of weeks ago: on the green, players marked their ball and the caddy cleaned and dried it and kept it dry until placing it back on the green. Then the caddy held an umbrella over the player and the ball and a dry putter face until the player addressed the ball at which time the caddy must back away, subject to penalty. So the caddy and player are doing everything they can, within the rules, to keep both ball and club face dry as long as possible to try to insure a good contact and roll off the club face. This routine could also be used on the tee box. Yes, your son will not have a caddy most of the time but he can still, within the rules, try to keep his ball and club dry as long as possible before he takes his shots. Dad and Mom please note that your son will have this exact situation many times in his junior golf career. (photo nytimes.com)

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Hitting from a wet fairway is different in that you cannot clean or dry the ball, except under lift, clean and place rules, but that’s for another day. So really, take the practice swings then clean and dry the club face and take the shot. There is a chance for the ball to make decent contact with the grooves so the shot may be predictable. Hitting out of wet rough means no ball to groove contact and wet rough sometimes feels much heavier than dry rough. These shots are unpredictable. They can end up very short because the wet rough just shut down your son’s swing or they could be flyers if he is strong enough to make a good swing with a follow through.

Wet conditions during a tournament can be intimidating. Proper preparation is a confidence builder. Always take a few minutes the night before a tournament to discuss tomorrow’s expected weather and playing conditions. Remember, everybody has to play in it.

See you on #1 tee with a dry towel.. Sam

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