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Avid golfers are rarely content to wait for perfect weather conditions before playing a round. But if you play in the rain, or you hit the course after a shower ends, you may have to deal with mud. Adjust your swing, and possibly your club selection, if your ball travels into the mud, or if it picks up some mud as it's rolling. When you're actually in the mud, use a shallower downswing and hit the ball with your clubhead ascending so you strike the ball, not the mud.
Hitting from the Mud
Widen your normal stance. This typically means standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
Play the ball slightly farther forward than usual.
Choke down on the club about 1/2 inch.
Consider using one club less than normal. By employing a shallower downswing and playing the ball forward, you're likely to hit a lower shot with less backspin. So if you'd normally play a 6-iron, for example, consider using a 7-iron.
Hitting a Ball That's Passed Through Mud
Observe the ball to see where the mud has stuck. Don't move the ball, however, if you're playing according to the Rules of Golf. You also can't lift and clean the ball unless you're on the green.
Mark your ball, lift it, then clean the ball only if you're on the green. Replace the ball, then putt as normal. If you're not on the green, proceed to Step 3.
Adjust your target, taking into consideration that the ball will travel in the opposite direction of the mud. If there's mud on the right side of the ball, for example, it will likely curve to the left.
Use a less-lofted club than usual, to reduce the ball's spin. If you'd normally hit a 6-iron, for example, use a 5-iron.
Swing a bit softer than usual to further reduce the ball's spin. But be sure to follow through.
- If you hit the ball into the fairway, or onto any other fairway-height grass, you're entitled to free relief under the Rules of Golf if your ball lands in mud and is immediately embedded at the spot where it lands. You may lift, clean and drop the ball without penalty. If the mud is part of ground under repair, or lies within abnormal ground conditions, you're also entitled to free relief. Course or tournament officials can tell you if either of these situations applies. If you believe a ball you've hit in the mud is unplayable, but it's not embedded, you can lift, clean and drop the ball but must take a one-stroke penalty.