From maple cocktails, to innovative ways of using maple syrup, this summer has been full of sweet surprises. Omni Hotels & Resorts has another one for you: how to get out of golf’s “sticky situations”. And at the 12 Omni Golf Resorts, golf professionals are sharing a sweet series of golf tips so golfers can handle the toughest golf problems on their world-class golf courses. Whether it’s dealing with a water hazard, or handling a tricky lie around the green, these three golf professionals have excellent tips for bringing your game up to par.
Playing out of a water hazard
Simon Andres, Director of Golf
The Omni Grove Park Inn
If a shot winds up in a water hazard and you want to play it, you can. It all depends on the lie. How wet is it? Or did you really get lucky and find a dry lie? You can find some murky lies in water hazards. The ball may be playable, but it’s still sitting in gunk. That’s when this gets really sticky. The first thing you do is be sure you can get the ball out of the hazard. Ask yourself, “When I take this action, will the ball be out of the hazard? Am I trying to pull off a miracle shot?” You cannot test the ground, but your shoes can help you. The pressure of your feet will tell you what kind of environment you are in. If your shoes are sticking to the soil, it means the ball is probably full of muck, so just take it out of there. But if not, you have a shot.
Then pull on your rain pants, particularly if you are wearing a good pair of golf pants, or it’s one of the first holes of the day. You don’t want to spend all day in wet pants. Select a club you that makes you comfortable that you will get the ball to come out. When judging distance, factor in one more club than usual; for example, take a 7-iron rather than an 8-iron. Remember to take all practice swings outside the hazard. You can’t make contact with the ground until you play the shot. It’s a two-stroke penalty for grounding the club in a hazard. Take a normal swing. Make sure make sold contact with the ball. In this situation, people get a little too cute. This is not a time to try a delicate, fancy shot – even if you happen to get a decent, dry lie within the hazard (which can be the case in the summer months). So, playing out of a water hazard is possible, but golfers need to know their limitations. If the ball is under water – even just an inch – take the one-stroke penalty, drop outside the water hazard and move on. Limit the damage – to your score and to your clothes.
Putting from the fringe off the green, with the ball resting up against the higher cut of rough
Ron Leporati, Director of Golf
Omni Bedford Springs Resort
Typically, I get pitching wedge out, with the intent of guiding the blade of the club through the long grass. A putter is more likely get caught up in the grass, because the putter head is a lot bigger and does not go through the grass like the wedge. But grip the club like you would a putter. Use a putting motion. Your grip pressure should be about 8½ on scale of 1 to 10. You have to navigate through the grass, so you want to grip it pretty tight. The shaft will tend to twist through the long grass and rotate the club if you don’t have a firm grip. Take five practice putting strokes with the wedge. Get a feel for the speed of the swing. More importantly, get a feel for how much drag the long grass will have on the wedge before impact. Catch the ball at “the equator” – right in the middle, so it rolls true. Not too low, or it will pop up, and don’t strike it too high, because it will bounce. You want to strike the ball so it rolls true. Keep your head still; and lower body still. Rock the shoulders, not the hands. Pick the spot and let it go. This is a shot you can practice all the time. Every putting green has an edge like this.
Chipping out from between trees, over a bunker, onto the green
By Danny Medina, Director of Golf
Omni Tucson National Resort
You need a lofted club, which will carry over the bunker and give you more spin to hold the green – but not too lofted that you might pop it up into the trees.Position the ball a little further back in your stance; comfortably from the middle of your stance to the back foot. It’s important to read the slope of the green and pick the spot where you want the ball to land. Focus on that, not necessarily on the flagstick. Accelerate through the shot, but move club slowly enough that you can see the club make contact with ball. That will promote keeping the head still and making solid contact.