Nothing beats the anticipation of an early morning round of golf. If you don’t adjust your game to fit the conditions, however, anticipation can turn to agony in a hurry.
The biggest difference between morning and afternoon golf, besides the temperature, is the moisture left by overnight dew. Until the dew has completely evaporated, even a small amount can alter your shots. Damp conditions can be a bad-news/good-news proposition, so it’s critical to understand dew’s effects to turn the situation in your favor – especially on the greens.
- Take at least one extra towel to dry your clubs and equipment: You’ll understand why after reading the rest of these tips. Having an extra glove handy is a good idea, too.
- Prepare for flier lies on approach and chip shots: Water between the ball and clubface reduces backspin, causing the ball to fly father and stop less quickly after landing. On longer shots, take less club than the distance calls for, especially if there’s room to run the ball onto the green. And, always -- always -- dry the clubface after practice swings.
- Always wipe off your ball after marking it on the green: Not only will the ball get wet, it will pick up dirt, grass clippings and other debris that can slow or alter its roll. When marking your ball, don’t use a gloved hand – a wet glove can slip during the swing.
- Examine trails left by earlier putts: Finally, a morning-golf advantage. Unless yours is the first group on the course, damp greens will bear the tracks left by previous putts. Check out the area around the hole to get a true sense of the break.
- Play less break: Wet greens are slower, so play less break than you would under dry conditions and hit the ball more firmly. Also, pay attention to whether the green you’re on has been mowed. Arrive early enough and you may catch the maintenance crew in the middle of its rounds, and a freshly cut green is, of course, faster than one that’s uncut.
Here’s a primer to help make the most of your morning rounds:
Once you’ve played a few rounds with these keys in mind, they’ll become second nature.