For most golfers, a water hazard is a ball magnet. No matter how hard we try to avoid the wetness, our ball is called to the depths of the pond. Because it is such a draw, our apprehension grows as we approach the water. This becomes a mental challenge that some of us can handle, but most cannot.
Over the years, I have come to embrace hitting over water. I do not fear it, but I have limitations on how far my ball will carry over the hazard. I am not a long hitter, so I have to manage how I play around large water hazards. It is a fact of my game and as such is in my thought process when playing a course.
Others have the same challenge and have recognized their limitations.
Now, if you were Rory McIlroy, water does not cause an issue; especially when you can hit the ball like this:
I remember playing golf one time with my Mom and she was on the tee of a 120 yard hole. Water was in front of her for about 75 yards. The pond ended 25 yards from the front of the green, but the front fringe was 3 feet above the water level, so she had to fly her ball the entire way. As she was going to the tee, I asked her what club she had. She said my 120 yard club. So I thought that was fine; that is until she hit her ball into the water at the far end of the pond.
Little did I know that my mom could hit her club 125 yards, but could not carry it 100 yards in the air. As I queried her about her shot, she said that she was more afraid of going over the back than being short. I explained that the water hazard was the first thing to maneuver, then worry about going over the back. I asked her about what club she could hit to clear the water and she said her 7 wood, but it went 135 yards. So, I asked her to hit another ball with her 7 wood. Low and behold, she cleared the water and the front of the green to lay safely on the green.
This was a teachable moment for both of us. Since that time, I always hit an extra club when going over a water hazard (unless I have a wedge in my hand). I find that with the extra yardage my longer club gives, I have removed the hazard completely and swing with confidence. As a result, I no longer have any fear playing over any hazard because I have found a way to mitigate the danger.
Therefore, for all those who have a challenge hitting for a water hazard; I recommend you take an extra club and swing away. You might be surprised on how quickly these hazards become nuisances.
How do you play over a water hazard? Do you have a secret you want to share?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!