You may not have to outrun a linebacker or hit a curveball, but hitting a golf ball is one of the most trying things to do in sports. And even then, some shots can wrap your mind in a pretzel more than others. Rarely will you play a round without avoiding one of the most challenging shots on the golf course.
The First Shot
For many golfers, the very first shot is the one that can put your mind in a tailspin. Every golfer wants to pipe one down the center in front of the peanut gallery to set the tone for the day. Unfortunately, the first shot rarely goes according to the script. The first drive will feel like any other shot if you can calm your nerves and maintain consistency. Until you learn to crush it off the first tee, it’s the biggest mental hurdle standing in your way.
A Chip Close to the Pin
A more technical shot that an inexperienced golfer might not realize is a bear to deal with is a chip shot near the pin. Ideally, if you’re going to mishit a golf shot, you want to miss in an area that gives you the most room to work with. This type of shot requires a delicate touch that many golfers don’t possess.
Before you address the ball and send it flying, think about what will happen if things don’t go according to plan. Missing short and having 100 feet to stick a chip or let it run is infinitely easier than a chip with a sliver of real estate for the ball to land.
Hitting It Off of Hard Ground
As much as we’d like to hit every approach shot on the fairway, novice golfers tend to go off the beaten path, leaving them a difficult shot that could be on hard, flat terrain. This lie can be disastrous on the golf course because the margin of error is nil. The odds of blading the ball for 20 yards or sailing the ball past the green are high if you find yourself in this predicament.
The technical term for this lie is a tight hardpan, and the best strategy for them is to have your hands ahead of the ball on your swing. Doing this gives you the best chance to hit it cleanly and avoid disaster.
Lengthy Bunker Shot
Being in-between is the worst spot to be in on the golf course. Looking at your bag and knowing you don’t have a club that works for the situation is a punch in the gut. Similarly, a lengthy bunker shot will have that same effect.
If the shot is between 40-100 yards, you’ll be nervous about having too much club or not enough, leading to a poor swing that results in a poor outcome. It could take years of failure in these shots before you get it right.
A Birdie Putt
A challenging round can leave you rattled and grasping for anything positive to keep you from throwing your clubs in the nearest water hazard. So, when you put together two or three good shots consecutively and have the chance to put up a birdie or par, your heart will race, and your body will tense up. These factors could lead to mishitting a putt and squandering your opportunity.
Conquering one of the most challenging shots on the golf course is a tall task for even an exceptional golfer. Don’t lose your patience if you don’t hit can’t nail things on the first try. After all, practice makes perfect!