Unrealistic Expectations -- How much spin will the golf ball have?
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Know the effect of the lie to play realistic shots
I've recommended Dave Pelz's book, "The Short Game Bible" before. I encourage you to treat yourself this Xmas if you haven't done so already. Reading his book will help your game immensely. Go to your local bookstore and get it OR click here, Click
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I was reviewing Dave's section on the effect different lies have on backspin. His book highlights short game situations, but the concepts he introduces apply to all shots. In this article, I'll expand on Dave's ideas and talk about various situations where understanding spin is crucial.
Let's say you have an 80 yard shot from the fairway. The pin is cut at the back of the green. You use one of your wedges that you can usually control distance +/- 5 yards. Where do you aim? From the fairway with a good lie, you can be confident that the ball will stop fairly quickly. Just in case you hit the shot a little long, 85 yards, you decide to aim 5 yards shorter, and play a 75 yard shot.
Now, if instead of your ball being on the fairway, its in the rough. The degree of how deep the rough is determines how much grass will get in between the ball and the clubface. Grass has a high concentration of water in it so there will in effect be a layer of water in between the ball and the clubface. Do you know the effect of having water in between the tires of a car and the road? It's the same here, there will be less friction and therefore less backspin applied to the ball.
So, when you hit that 80 yard wedge shot from the rough, it won't stop as well. It could very well roll 10 to 20 yards. There is no way you should be aiming at the flag. You should be aiming 10 to 20 yards short of the flag. It's a bit of a guessing game so best to aim 20 yards short. That's one of the penalities of not hitting the fairway. Hitting from the rough gives less predictable results.
The same goes for hitting full shots into greens. When they are hit from the rough, the ball will roll farther upon touchdown. If you're hitting a 150 yard shot to a tucked front pin, forget upon trying to just land on the front of the green. Hit enough club to clear the trap, and expect the ball to roll and to have a long putt or a chip. Don't be UNREALISTIC. You hit it in the rough. There is a penalty. In most cases it means you can't get close to the flag. Thus, you have to depend on a strong shortgame. I again emphasize the importance of working harder on your shortgame than your longgame. Click
here to order Dave's Book
Let's say you have 20 yard bunker shot from the edge of the green. The ball is sitting cleanly (it's not sitting down much into the sand) and you need to fly the ball 10 yards to clear the lip of the bunker and land onto the green. The pin is 10 yards onto the green. With a clean lie, if you hit a good bunker shot (Dave Pelz also covers sand play extremely well), the ball will stop before the pin.
If, however, the ball is sitting down in the sand, you won't be able to put as much backspin on the ball (maybe none), and so it is UNREALISTIC to think you're going to get the ball close to the hole. Expect a long putt for your next shot. There is a penalty for hitting into the bunker. If you try to just clear the lip of the bunker in hopes of getting it closer, you're much more likely to leave it in the trap and you're on your way to another one of those "other" scores.
As I've said before, I encourage you to use a soft covered, high performance ball to maximize the amount of backspin you can put on the ball in all situations. Understand that from the rough and the sand, you can not put as much backspin on the ball, therefore, you must change your EXPECTATIONS as to what is possible and play the shot which is most PROBABLY going to give you the lowest score on the hole. Avoid the OTHER scores by thinking you're a magician.
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