Playing well in the winter is a test of your golfing instincts. Nowhere is this more applicable than when it comes to how to judge your lie in the rough. When the ground is wet underfoot, there is far less margin for error regarding the strike. Fractionally heavy contacts that would be fine in the summer are punished in the winter so you should approach with caution. Here, barely a foot apart, are three very different lies, illustrating how flexible your gameplan needs to be. These three shots will help you deal with any lie you face this winter.
If your ball is sitting down in a wet or muddy lie, reach for your wedge. This will offer you more distance than any other club. When thinking about how to judge your lie in the rough set the ball back in your stance at address and place a fraction more weight on your lead foot. This will create a steeper angle of attack to help you find the cleanest strike possible in this difficult scenario.
Without much grass around the ball, it sits slightly down but there is nothing stopping the clubface making a full contact. In this scenario, set the ball in the middle of your stance so that your hands are a fraction ahead of the ball at address. This will help you find a downward, compressing strike but one that still offers plenty of flight and power.
One of the reasons that lies differ so much in the winter is the uneven growth of the grass. Patchy areas, particularly in the rough are typical and you’ll sometimes find your ball perched up. In this scenario you can opt for whichever club you need but place the ball further forward in your stance. Make sure your posture is as athletic as possible and then make a smooth swing to get the most from the great lie you’ve found.
In the winter, the rules allow players to ‘prefer their lie.’ This means moving the ball anyway six inches away but not nearer the hole. This is a chance to give yourself a great lie, don’t miss it!