SI Vault
 
How to keep swinging in the rain
Jack Nicklaus
September 09, 1963
Some people must enjoy hitting shots off wet grass—the fanatic, say, who plays so early in the morning that the dew is still thick enough to swim in or the all-weather zealot who looks upon a tropical rainstorm as nothing more than a light mist. Most of us, however, take little pleasure in such shots because they are hard to handle. The main problem is that moisture fills the grooves of the clubface. This makes it difficult for the clubhead to grip the ball at impact and give it backspin. The result is a shot that flies farther than it would under normal conditions and then does not bite properly when it lands. The way to counteract this is to play a fading shot into the green. To hit this shot, one less club than normal should be used (a seven-iron, for instance, rather than a six). The ball should be aimed to the left of the target, and the swing should be made almost entirely with the arms. There should be, in other words, very little hand action at impact. The right hand should stay behind the left with the hands not turning over until well into the follow-through. The clubhead should not dig into the turf; it should sweep the ball cleanly off the grass. The result will be a high shot that still carries farther than normal, but one that will hold the green when it lands.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 09, 1963

How To Keep Swinging In The Rain

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

Some people must enjoy hitting shots off wet grass—the fanatic, say, who plays so early in the morning that the dew is still thick enough to swim in or the all-weather zealot who looks upon a tropical rainstorm as nothing more than a light mist. Most of us, however, take little pleasure in such shots because they are hard to handle. The main problem is that moisture fills the grooves of the clubface. This makes it difficult for the clubhead to grip the ball at impact and give it backspin. The result is a shot that flies farther than it would under normal conditions and then does not bite properly when it lands. The way to counteract this is to play a fading shot into the green. To hit this shot, one less club than normal should be used (a seven-iron, for instance, rather than a six). The ball should be aimed to the left of the target, and the swing should be made almost entirely with the arms. There should be, in other words, very little hand action at impact. The right hand should stay behind the left with the hands not turning over until well into the follow-through. The clubhead should not dig into the turf; it should sweep the ball cleanly off the grass. The result will be a high shot that still carries farther than normal, but one that will hold the green when it lands.

1