Golf in the winter months in Dallas can be very pleasant. However, the conditions do change and create challenges as well. For starters, the Bermuda grass goes dormant sometime in November. As a result, the grass is not growing and, over the winter months, provides a very tight playing surface. As well, we get our fair share of wind, but from a different direction in the winter. Most courses in this area are set up for the predominant south wind. When the wind comes out of the north in the winter, the courses will play more difficult.
I focus on two areas with my students who play winter golf. They need to be able to play a flighted wind shot, and they must adapt to the shots they play around the green.
Flighting the ball down in the wind has many benefits. Among them are:
- A lower trajectory shot that penetrates through the wind.
- The increased ability to hit the ball and ground at the same time.
To lower the flight of the ball, the length of the swing must be smaller on both sides of the ball. As well, there needs to be an emphasis on chipping down on the ball with the back of your left hand at impact. In creating this motion, you also raise the opportunity to hit the ball and ground at the same time, which is very important as the grass gets tighter.
SHOTS AROUND THE GREEN
When the grass goes dormant and the lies around the green get tighter, you need to reassess what shots have a high percentage. Chipping often times replaces pitching. The lies are too tight to slide the club under the ball and pitch the ball. In addition to chipping, I like to utilize a hybrid as an alternative option. It’s similar to putting off the green but often a better selection. Putters typically have 3-5 degrees of loft and often create too much bounce on the ball from off the green.
On the other hand, hybrids have more loft and will allow the ball to stay on top of the bounce, which minimizes the bounce effect. I like to put the ball back in my stance and have my weight and hands forward at address. From this setup, I putt the ball. It’s a simple shot that just requires a little practice.
Extending your golf season in to the winter is an excellent idea. Adjusting your game slightly to the winter conditions can allow you to play your best golf all year long.