Like many courses in the heat of summer, the conditions are dry and the ground hard. As the course continues to dry out, I experience more roll off each shot, less spin on the ball for approach shots, and a challenge to take a divot. Conversely, when it rains for a few days in a row, Osprey Links reverts back to its normal playing conditions that are just the opposite to what I described. What is a golfer to do?
Fortunately, the drying of the course takes weeks to happen and I can easily adjust to a firmer course. I club down most of the time and enjoy hitting shorter irons into the greens. Surprisingly, my scores become better and I am able to lower my handicap index. This happens each year and it is not surprising. I mean, who does not like hitting the bally 290 yards off the tee (regardless of the 30 yard roll)?!
Interestingly, when it rains for couple of days in a row, the course quickly bounces back and I loose this extra distance on all clubs. I have noticed over the years that it takes about 3 holes to adjust and change my game to suit the course conditions. In my case, I generally take an extra club on approach shots and chip more aggressively as the greens tend to be slower and more receptive. This situation happened just 3 days ago after two days for a good soaking rain.
During the first 3 holes I shot a double, par and bogey. Not a stellar start, but I quickly realized that I had to adjust my course management strategy to rebound back. Well, I did by shooting even par for the next 16 holes (3 birdies, 3 bogies, 10 pars)! It was a solid round and I was happy with the results. But, this got me thinking of why it always seems to take 3 holes to identify the condition changes!
I know the course will be playing shorter and softer. I know this because it was soaking rain and not a downpour (which has a tendency to trickle away). In addition to the water the course is putting on the and around the greens, the extra water adds to the sponginess of the course. Even though I know all this, I am still slow to adjust my game. I guess it is something I need to work on moving forward.
Adjusting your course management to changing course conditions is an important skill. We need to identify what is changing and think about how best to adapt. It may not be particularly difficult, but is a core skill to keeping your scores low.
Do you adjust to the changing course conditions?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!