Nailing Those Trouble Shots

nailing those trouble shots

Golf, as in life, can have ups and downs but it is how the player deals with them that makes the difference. A golfer who can handle the bad shots will do better overall than one who cannot. Learn how to stay focused in times of trouble and what to do to nail the shot.


Learn to Chip

Once a player learns to chip well, with a little adjustment to length of the swing, it can turn into a full motion swing. Some variations of the chip shot include:

Low hook around a tree. To hit a shot around the tree requires proper setup. The following are some ways to get into proper position for hitting a ball around a tree:

  • Align the feet, hips and shoulders on the path (to the right of the tree)
  • Align clubface where desired finish for ball will be (flagstick)
  • Swing club along the body line. The ball will start out on that line then curve around the tree to the target.
  • To increase hook of the ball, swing club into a flatter finish. To slice, finish into steeper finish.

A tee shot that doesn’t set up. Many ways exist to play a shot that does not set up as planned. Try the following tips to help improve this shot.

  • Choose a long iron, aim to the left of the fairway and play for a safe position. The goal is to take trees on the right and water on the left out of play and eliminate chances of missing the fairway.
  • A more aggressive approach is to use a 3-wood and aim along the left side. Take a chance of hitting the ball through the fairway to the left.
  • Advanced players can fade the driver which takes practice. Pick a target on the fairway’s left side, fade back to the center and, if hit successfully, a much easier approach shot will appear.



Players with jitters can conquer the feeling easily by turning nervous energy into excitement. With the proper perspective, students can take one of many shots to hit during the round. Tips to avoid jitters can include:

  • Fixate less on results than strengths
  • Focus on type of shot being hit
  • Prepare first tee shot on practice range
  • Rehearse shot several times to gain confidence
  • Choose a target in the tee box and make a good swing


Avoid Trouble

Some perspective can be helpful when planning the setup for a shot. Get onto the course and consider all the trouble spots. Think of the situation in quadrants and follow the tips below for some helpful advice:

  • The back-left portion of the green is the most troublesome and is best to avoid.
  • Take into account ball lie how far it is to the target and in which quadrant it is easiest to hit into.
  • Commit to the quadrant, narrow focus and find the best place for the ball to land.

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