Why Are Soft Golf Courses Easier?

Soft conditions usually mean lower scores, but why?

soft golf courses easier
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Rain spells disaster for the club golfer, but for the touring professional it means easier conditions. Here is why soft golf courses are easier...

Why are soft golf courses easier?

This week at Baltusrol the scoring has been low due to soft conditions from the rain that has been in the New Jersey area.

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The soft conditions make golf courses easier for two reasons.

The first is that the fairways suddenly become wider. No longer do drives bounce and run off into rough and bunkers, they land softly.

This does mean that the course plays longer, because tee shots lose 20 yards of run or even more in some cases, but with the length that the professionals hit it, it doesn't harm them too much.

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If a drive lands in the proximity of the fairway, it usually stays there.

The second reason why golf course play easier, and the most significant, it that approach shots become much easier.

It's often referred to as 'throwing darts', where balls pitch and sit down immediately. With the talent the world's best have, they simply hit their number and if it's gone straight, which it usually does, it leaves them a tap-in for birdie.

The softer conditions allow the golf ball to be received instead of bouncing up and rolling on.

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In firmer conditions, golfers have to account for run on the greens, and when holes are just beyond bunkers and on tight ledges the professionals simply ignore them, play to the middle of the green and hope to two-putt from there.

The softer conditions allow the top guys to have confidence in attacking nearly all the flags and because of this, we see more birdies and lower scores.

We've heard Phil Mickelson say this week that someone may shoot a 62 at Baltusrol and that is simply down to soft conditions with the rain that we've seen.

Robert Streb shot a 63 in the second round, and we may well see that matched in the final round.

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x