Are there situations where you are allowed to adjust the area around your ball? Yes, on the teeing ground it is permissible to step down the grass around your ball or even remove grass from the area within infringing on the basic rule….play the ball as it lies.
When playing golf, it’s key to verify before hitting a ball that it is indeed your ball. If it’s not your ball, you could incur penalty strokes. When your ball lands in the fairway, you can generally easily identify your ball by its logo and markings. In other situations, your ball may be more difficult to identify due to thick rough, fescue, or the like. The rules of golf do allow you to “touch” or “bend” the grasses around your ball to identify it. However, this must be done without improving your lie. In the event your ball is “buried” in the rough, you are permitted to lift ball to identify that it is yours. To do this without penalty, first mark the location of your ball with a tee, lift the ball, identify it, and then place the ball in the original location (identified by the “tee” marking). Before lifting your ball, tell your playing partners what you are going to do so that they can oversee your actions and eliminate any question about the possibility of improving your lie.
- Before walking to your ball, anticipate your lie and situation, bring an extra club to ensure you are prepared.
- While others are hitting, plan your shot and be ready to hit when it’s your turn.
- Record your score on the next tee, not on the green that you just finished playing.
- Always keep an eye on your ball and your partner’s ball.
- Identify a landscape marker to help you remember where yours or your partner’s ball landed.
- If you think your ball may be lost, hit a provisional ball; avoid looking for your ball, identifying it lost, and having to go back to hit another ball.
- A good way to judge your pace of play, is to stay in pace with the group ahead of you. If they are not in sight and the group behind you is waiting, it’s time to pick up your group’s pace.
- If the group behind you is a smaller group, and your group is lagging, allow the group behind to play through. It’s then your job to keep pace with that group.
- Be aware of delays on the green. If your shot is within “making” distance, ask your fellow players if you can putt out. This will eliminate unnecessary delays to remark your ball. If you do putt out, be sure not to stand in any other players putting line.
- When playing a casual round of golf, if your strokes exceed double the par value for that hole, pick up your ball to keep the group moving.
Tips for hitting out of a divot…
- Your stance should be centered with your weight slightly left.
- Keep your lower body stable and avoid shifting your weight during the swing.
- Position the ball toward the back of your stance; this will help you hit the ball with a descending stroke.
- Position your hands slightly ahead of the ball.
- Aim slightly left of your target; this helps you create more of a V shaped swing.
- When taking your stroke, come down on the ball at a steeper angle so that you avoid hitting the grass at behind the divot.
- Keep your clubface square to the ball’s path of flight.
- Remember to hit the ball first…..not the ground. Hit the ball in the downward portion of your swing….not the upward motion.
Every week we see the greatest golfers in the world all swinging the club shaft in the general vicinity of parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing. Some go slightly past parallel and some slightly short of parallel. In general it is fair to say that most professional golfers swing the club shaft back to a point that is very close to parallel. Another generalization is that most club professionals can walk down their driving range and watch many of their amateur students swinging the club shaft to a point at or past parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing.
Let us as golfers make it a goal to stop trying to swing the club shaft to parallel if we are not flexible enough to do so. As a general rule, (if you are flexible enough) you should max out your upper body turn at around 80 degrees of rotation. Visit www.k-vest.com to find an instructor that can measure this. The arms and hinge should stop a nearly indiscernible split second after the upper body turn is complete. If you cannot turn far enough to get the club shaft to parallel, do not try to get it there by adding unnecessary wrist hinge or arm bend. Work towards setting your lead wrist (left for right-handed golfers) early in the backswing. If you can have it fully hinged by the time your lead arm gets to parallel with the ground in the backswing, your chances of over swinging the backswing with your arms and hands will decrease!
The result will be a more repeatable swing that is not so dependent on perfect timing. The percentage of solid shots will increase and the range of mis-directed shots will decrease.
Written by Scott Seifferlein, PGA Golf Guru at Grand Rapids Golf Lesson
As you read this golf tip, please keep in mind that it may not apply to your unique needs. Always consult with your local PGA professional before attempting to apply any golf tip you have read from a newspaper, magazine, book, internet, etc.
Most right-handed golfers aim too far to the right (left handed golfers too far left). This causes the club-head to move outside the correct plane and then across the ball in the downswing to compensate for the poor alignment. The result is a loss of club-head speed.
To check your alignment, place a shaft along your toes or the back of your heels. Stand ten feet behind the ball and look to see where the shaft is lined up. It should be aligned to the left (right for left-handed players) of and parallel to your target. The shoulders should also follow this line when set-up to the ball.
Written by Scott Seifferlein, PGA Guru at Grand Rapids Golf Lesson
Mary Hafeman PGA and LPGA Professional at the Mary Hafeman Golf Experience located within the Grand Club’s Cypress Club in Palm Coast, Florida shares her Fairway Bunker Shot Techniques….
I always find the most challenging bunker shot to hit is the fairway bunker shot. The objective is to hit the ball a greater distance than a green side bunker. A fundamental difference between the two shots is that from a greenside bunker you try to hit the sand first where in a fairway bunker you want to contact the ball first.
- Most importantly check the lie of the ball first. A good lie that is sitting “up” allows for a normal swing with few adjustments. A medium lie allows for more of a descending blow and a poor lie which is sitting “down” requires a player to just pitch out into the fairway.
- Set your feet in the bunker while addressing the ball. You have an opportunity to notice how deep the sand is as you set your feet, you also need your feet set for a good base to ensure a consistent swing.
- Choke or grip down on the club about an inch about the same distance as you have dug your feet into the sand.
- Position the ball in the middle of your stance.
- Move your hands ahead of the ball slightly as you cannot ground the club in a hazard without a penalty stroke.
- Target hitting the ball just above the sand on a good lie. If you have a poor lie take a more lofted club and hit a traditional green side bunker shot back out to the fairway.
- Look not at a spot behind the ball like a green side bunker but rather on the front side of the ball or just slightly ahead of the ball to help assure you hit the ball first and not the sand. It will feel like you “picked the ball” out of the sand.