October 19, 2009
Ball on pine straw
Over the green in some pine needles? No problem. Use your imagination and instincts to get the ball on the green. Treat this shot like a long explosion bunker shot. Play the ball off your front heel. Use your sand wedge, and open the face. Hit behind the ball about three inches. The club will slide under the ball instead of digging into the dirt.Make a full swing back and through, and let the club's loft and bounce send the ball high for a soft landing on the green.Don't try to chip from this lie. The ground is not firm enough for you to trap the ball. In fact, anytime you are on soft ground like pine straw or leaves, hit an explosion shot. Be careful when you address the ball; it's easy for it to move. The smart play: Don't ground your club.
Mud on ball
Playing the ball as you find it is one of the great challenges of the game. A clump of mud on your ball can be a problem, but you can still hit a good shot if you make the right adjustments.From my experience as a player, I've learned that mud on one side of the ball will cause it to spin in such a way that it curves in the opposite direction. So if the mud is on the right side, the ball will go to the left—and more than you might think. Compensate by aiming to the right. If mud is on the left, the ball will go right, so aim to the left.Aim away from the target as much as 15 yards. The mud will also kill some backspin, so you might need more loft to keep the ball airborne.