Many sports are only played at certain times of the year. Golf is a sport that is played in all conditions throughout the year. One of the many challenges for golfers is to be able to adapt to all the conditions and still score well. When watching golf on television, courses are set up to create a certain type of play. Scores can vary simply on how the green keepers setup up the conditions of the course. Changing the speed of the greens, the receptiveness of the greens, the firmness of the fairways, and the length of the rough are just some of the factors that influence the shot making required to score well.
In America, most of the Tour events are set with firm fairways and soft greens. This enables the players to hit longer drives and hit shots straight at the flag. This seems to making scoring easier for the golfers. On some courses, the greens are firm and fast, which makes the shot selection different. Wet and furry fairways make the course longer because golfers do not get the standard run on the ball that they would normally expect, which gives the golfer a longer shot into the green. These are just a couple of examples of how the course can change, simply at the hands of the green keepers. Green keepers do not always have a say in how the course performs. Mother Nature can definitely lend a hand to change the playability of the course.
Canberra is now moving closer to winter. The air is colder and the ground in the morning is frozen. Does this influence the way we play our shots? Most definitely! When our bodies are cold, we tend to not move as well as normal. This means, less power in our shots, which ultimately means we will hit the ball shorter. Unless you take the time to stretch and warm your body up before your round, expect to hit the ball shorter. You will also be placing yourself at a higher risk of having an injury. In cold conditions, it is a good option to take an extra club as the ball travels shorter in the air.
When playing in conditions where the greens and fairways are frozen and covered in ice, you need to become aware of where to land the ball. When hitting into the green, try to land the ball short of the green, as the ball will bounce hard if it lands on the green. When landing it short, take into consideration that the ball will collect frost which will slow the roll of the ball once it arrives on the green.
When putting on the green, initially the ball will skid off the putter face for the first six inches or so, it will then collect ice which will ultimately slow the roll of the ball. Sometimes, it is better to be firm with your putts and aim for less break.
When playing in frozen conditions, make sure you carry a towel with you to clean your ball after each putt. Trying to hit a ball with ice on it will result in a poor putt. And lastly, make sure you adjust your shot making into the greens as the ice melts. It is important to become aware of the conditions around you!