As the weather changes and golf goes through its own seasonal changes, courses have to be maintained appropriately. This includes aerating the entire course, from tee to green. And if you’re like me, you’ve likely gotten to the first green of your home course before without realizing the grounds crew had just finished aerating and sanding the greens, presenting another obstacle to deal with during the already challenging round of golf.
Bumpy, uneven greens present many unknowns for your short game. You don’t know which aeration hole the ball will bounce off of or if the ball will hold its true line as you hit your shot. These unknowns can complicate your round, but you can minimize the challenge. Here are a few quick tips for adjusting your short game when facing punched and sanded greens.
- Chipping with aerations: Use a lower lofted club and get the ball rolling through the aerations. High trajectory increases the chances of the ball landing in the sand filled holes and being kicked more off line. If you normally chip with a pitching wedge, try hitting more of a bump and run shot with an 8 or 9 iron. This gives you the best chance of keeping the ball on line and getting it close to the hole.
- Putting with aerations: Putting on sanded and aerated greens is like putting through sand…literally. The greens will without a doubt roll more slowly than normal, but like the chipping advice discussed above, you want to roll the ball through the aerations. Hit the putts more firmly than you normally would, especially the short 4-7 footers you face. Under these conditions, rolling the ball on the correct line with a little extra speed will prevent it from taking any unwanted turns as it gets near the hole. Remember, the green won’t break as strongly as it would under normal conditions. While you will need to honor some break, it won’t be as extreme as you may initially think.
Give these adjustments a try when you find yourself faced with punched and sanded greens at the start and end of the golf season. You’ll be happy to find a little more control during an otherwise challenging set of course conditions. And remember, everyone is playing on the same course conditions.