Have you had problems adjusting your game from northern playing conditions to southern playing conditions? PGA Teaching Professional Rico Riciputi will guide you through the steps necessary to make for a smoother transition when traveling south for the winter.
Rico spends his summers teaching at the beautiful Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic, Pennsylvania, and travels south for the winter to The McCord Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida.
The biggest adjustment to make when traveling south is your ability to read the greens. The majority of the golf courses in the south will have Bermuda grass greens compared to Bent grass or Poa Annua in the north. Putting down south, you are going to encounter grain and reading the green can get tricky. Some things to look for when putting on Bermuda:
- If the grass appears to be shiny or light in color, the grain is going with you and will be faster in speed.
- If the grass is darker or appears duller in color, the grain is against you and will be slower in speed.
- Even if you are putting on a flat surface the grain can pull the ball to the left or right.
- Take a look at the cup and see which side appears to be burnt out or worn down. That will be the direction that the grain is growing.
In the south you will possibly encounter dryer playing conditions, and not as much elevation change. This is a perfect opportunity to achieve more roll with your driver by simply adjusting the loft of your driver. If you have a 12 – degree driver, lower the loft to 10.5 degrees. In making this slight change you will produce a lower launch angle, thus generating more roll.
A big change you need to make is club selection around the greens. In the south you will not encounter as much rough around the greens. This is a perfect opportunity to master the bump and run shot. I see too many students pulling out their sand and lob wedges to hit shots around the greens that really require more roll. Less loft is really going to allow for more consistency with your short game in and around the greens, I guarantee it.
Rico Riciputi, PGA