Tips on tracking/finding balls?

rmthawk64

New member
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
Messages
89
Reaction score
0
Location
Hanover, PA
Handicap
short game
This might sound like a silly question to some, but playing as a single most of the time I find that I have a more difficult time than I should tracking balls landing locations. Sure, hitting the ball straighter is the easy answer, but until I'm capable of doing that we gotta figure something else out.

Admittedly I'm super lax when searching for balls at times which leads to my lost ball total, but there are at least a few times per round where I think I have it pinpointed into a pretty decent area and just come up empty. So... what are ways to track better? Looking for anything from super simple that might be obvious to maybe a more advanced/different strat (if that exists).

Just need to cut down on the lost ball total!
 

rollin

"Just playin golf pally"
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
11,605
Reaction score
591
Location
planet earth, milky way galaxy
Handicap
15.7
Yea i know what you mean. It can be a pain. Especially for those whos ability tails off and the more errant one is. I dont have a good 3-D perception and it makes it even harder. You think the ball is near that tree or near that weed and you go there and I am off by many yards so it makes things even worse. And I too (like you) dont have the patience to look long at all. And I also dont want to hold up play. I wish I knew an answer to make it easier but what can we do?

Even at times you may have a bush or something to identify but then when you look away and start walking you somehow lost the identified bush.

I just look for a little bit and then drop and move on. The best thing we can do is simply help each other look for a moment and I find that most people do help each other. Two perhaps three sets of eyes for a good minute and if not found, drop and move on. Too many simply look for too long. But anyway the best way imo is for everyone to watch all the tee shots and if all eyes are on the ball it usually leads to knowing pretty close where it is. But there are days when the sky and lighting and even back drop is just so that tracking flight becomes hard to do. i will say that yellow balls do help track it. Dont help much at all finding it but definately does help track the flight better and thus given a better idea where it is.
 

ATLGolfer

#ATLClive75
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
14,983
Reaction score
12
Location
Atlanta
Handicap
2.7
I do two things to try to find errant shots.

First, I'll spot a landmark (like a tree or bush) where the ball landed. It's easier to find a ball when you know the area where it went into the trees, for instance.

Second, I'll make sure the sun is at my back when I'm looking. If the sun is out and in front of you, the ground will have a glare to it (making leaves, etc., appear shiny). This makes it nearly impossible to spot a ball. If the sun is behind you, the glare isn't there.

Other than that, it's just a matter of practice to find them.
 

ChristopherKee

Active member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
20
Location
Aldie Virginia
My GPS really helps me a lot. I just walk out to around the distance the club normally hits and look around the general area it flew. I've been pretty successful with this method.
 

rollin

"Just playin golf pally"
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
11,605
Reaction score
591
Location
planet earth, milky way galaxy
Handicap
15.7
My GPS really helps me a lot. I just walk out to around the distance the club normally hits and look around the general area it flew. I've been pretty successful with this method.
Yes i found that can help a lot unless it was a poor mishit. I've had preople swear and even insist (friendly) that the ball is "over hear" and I'll say but I'm not at my distance area and sure enough it was in my anticipated distance area with use of my gps. Thats one thing agps can save for time.
 

tander

Active member
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
1,008
Reaction score
5
Location
Mississippi
Handicap
14
]
 

Parshooter36

New member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
4,263
Reaction score
0
Location
Centralia, IL
Handicap
13.7
I tend to lose the ball as it fall from the sky when there are trees in the background. I'm sure that doesn't help matters, but overall I am terrible at finding balls that are not in plain sight. My father in law on the other hand could hit a ball into knee high rough and walk right to it nearly every time, and probably pick up a half dozen other balls along the way.
 

cpljohnst

Go Jackets! Go Sun Devils
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
15,285
Reaction score
73
Location
Villa Rica, Georgia
Handicap
16.0 GHIN
Have you tried Optic Yellow balls? As my sight has gotten worse, these bright balls are easier for me to track in the air.
 

blugold

Autobots, roll out!
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
51,335
Reaction score
2,252
Location
Appleton, WI
Handicap
12 or so.
My GPS really helps me a lot. I just walk out to around the distance the club normally hits and look around the general area it flew. I've been pretty successful with this method.
This has helped me as well. I know where abouts my driver goes. Looking in that range really helps narrow the field.
 

Smallville

#WeLoveYouAlex
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
98,691
Reaction score
453
Location
Kansas City, Kansas
Handicap
In Flux
A lot of times people overestimate the distance. We find balls about 20 yards short of where the original search area is a lot of the time.
 

Wakit300

Active member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
1,666
Reaction score
13
Location
Broomfield, CO
Handicap
GHIN 6.0
First, I'll spot a landmark (like a tree or bush) where the ball landed. It's easier to find a ball when you know the area where it went into the trees, for instance.
Above is the key, but what I find is that a lot of times on the way to the ball I can get sidetracked off my line and when I get in the area that I think the ball landed I always look back to the tee or where I hit my last shot from and make sure that both my landmarks are aligned. And yes people will overcalculate the distance they think the ball flew a lot of the time.
 

ddelloch

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Messages
520
Reaction score
0
Location
Vancouver, BC
Handicap
11.5
It also helps if you take the conditions of the area you are looking into consideration. If its hard pan rough and you sliced it, better get ready to walk a little further right than you thought. If its soft you can assume it will usually be close to where it would have landed. There have been more than a few times I have sliced it and its landed in a nice firm area and the ball has been 15y further over than I would have ever guessed.

We have a lot of soggy rough here so you pretty much have to walk on the angle that the ball would have plugged if you are going to spot it sticking out of the ground.
 

ForTheLovOfGolf

New member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,441
Reaction score
0
Location
Maryland
Handicap
6.2
I always pick two different points, like a tree or bush, that is past where I think the ball landed. I will go to the point and start searching from that point back towards the tee. I've alway found it easier to look at the tee while looking for a ball than at the point I've chosen.
 

DaBuckBoys

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Messages
2,270
Reaction score
395
Location
Wilmington, Ohio
Lots of good tips here, but it can be difficult to follow your own ball. I play with older guys some don't see that well and have become "the guy" that watches everyone else's shots. I've called directions to guys from a hundred feet away knowing exactly where their ball sits and he's looking 20 feet away. I would call it an acquired skill, but one that strong eyesight helps as well. I worked as a surveyor for several years and can judge distance pretty well too.
 

Hawk

Master Painter
Joined
Dec 2, 2009
Messages
66,791
Reaction score
223
Location
IL
I'm another one that focuses on a landmark. Can't be lazy about keeping an eye on it or I'll lose it, though like others said, I generally know where to start looking based on past experience or my distances.
 

T0AD

2020 ups to 2021 downs
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
10,502
Reaction score
94
Location
Georgia, via Indy
Handicap
12.7
I tend to lose the ball as it fall from the sky when there are trees in the background. I'm sure that doesn't help matters, but overall I am terrible at finding balls that are not in plain sight. My father in law on the other hand could hit a ball into knee high rough and walk right to it nearly every time, and probably pick up a half dozen other balls along the way.
This describes me perfectly. I can't find crap unless I'm in the right light and looking right at it. I have a friend, an avid hunter, that can spot balls through weeds, trees, branches, and grass from 50 feet. It irritates me to think I'm that blind.
 

jrs362

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
416
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Vermont
Handicap
18.1
I'm another one that looks for landmarks. If I'm going from one fairway to another (happens more often than I like to admit) I'll try to identify which tree the ball went over or through and start my search there.

I played one round last year where I hit the ball as well as I ever have off the first tee. I lost it immediately since I was looking into the sun and never saw it land. I didn't hear it smack into any trees either. I zigzagged through the fairway on 1 and then again on the adjacent 9th fairway and never found the ball.
 

Fourputt

Head Rules Official
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
3,153
Reaction score
26
Location
Logan County, Colorado
Handicap
17.0
Have you tried Optic Yellow balls? As my sight has gotten worse, these bright balls are easier for me to track in the air.
This works for me too. Easier to spot in most types of ground too.
 

O'Carroll

O'verrated
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
22,220
Reaction score
14
Location
Albany, NY
Handicap
Fat Calves
I use a combination of what others have suggested. A landmark (tree/bush), my GPS and relative distance I think I hit it, and I've switched to yellow balls.

I'm taking Seth's suggestion about the sun though...I've never thought to try that.
 

Barberakb

USAF / Go Cowboys!
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
5,977
Reaction score
29
Location
Las Cruces NM
Handicap
15
One thing that helps me a lot is my gps watch. i know pretty much how far i hit each club.

While I usually just start off by going to where I thought my ball landed, sometimes Im far off distance wise.

So, If I normally drive it around 250, and i cant find my ball off my tee shot, I will drive in the direction it was headed, stop at 250 ydrs, look around and usually I find it.
 

Welcome to The Hackers Paradise

Don't just play golf, live it!

Register Log in
Top