What shot during a round of golf you might face can make you say, “I really have screwed myself”? I’m not talking about the one or two clubs in the bag you just can’t swing well, but a “shot”. One where you need to be precise, one where good contact HAS to happen, one where failing……well, isn’t good. Yes, I’m sure the shot you hate is one you haven’t practiced much, either.
Maybe it’s a tee shot over water with a forced carry of over 150 yards. Perhaps it’s simply a fairway metal shot. If that’s the case, I’m probably not the first to suggest getting a hybrid or two to relieve some of that anxiety. Do you just HATE hitting it into a fairway bunker? Just getting you thinking a little this morning.
For me, a downwind mid-iron shot out of the rough has always caused me trouble. It’s not the physical act of “hitting” the ball with this type of shot, but trusting what I know will most likely happen and judging accordingly. “Downwind out of rough” to me spells flyer all the way. Not much spin will be produced and the ball will typically “jump” hard off the face of the club. If it’s a 5 or 6 iron, it’s going to be a flatter trajectory, meaning the ball will rocket forward, carry a bit longer….and not spin when it lands. Same for a shorter club, it will just be a touch higher.
What this means for me is that it’s the mental game of “choosing wisely”. This is where a good pre-shot routine comes in. What type of lie do you have in the rough? What’s the distance to the hole, or carry to the hazard or whatever is in your way? How strong is the wind? Uphill/downhill? Remember, this is taking about 10 seconds, right? Play “ready golf” please….John from CaddieWorld, any suggestions from across the pond. BTW, find John here: The very cool Caddyworld blog
Trust in your swing and trust in your decisions are both vital in a successful round of golf. Committing to the shot at hand is a must. Then execute. Even if the shot turns out to be less than stellar, at least you made the choice you trusted. For me, choosing wisely out of the rough comes down to trust. And knowing that not all those shots will be awesome. Play the shot that will be a good “percentage” play and not put yourself in a hazard or out of bounds. I will certainly think of these points when I play next and face this shot.
Go conquer your “feared shot” on the range first. Get familiar with it and figure out why it drives you crazy. Then get busy and have fun figuring it out. Remember, golf is a game and a beautiful one. Make it fun.
The photo below is from 2005 at Carnoustie in Scotland. Trust me when I say it was quite downwind on this shot and I was in the rough, as I was ALL day at this beast of a course. I forget the outcome of this play, but I’m thinking I got it somewhere near the green….