TROUBLE SHOTS
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The whole reason why we have Trouble Shots is because Golf isn't always played on flat, pristine turf. Understanding how things work with a little practice will greatly increase your play, confidence and attitude. And don't we know ATTITUDE is everything.

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LIES
Now, first comes Lies. There are 'Uphill' and 'Downhill', as well as 'Sidehill' lies, or when the ball is 'Above' or 'Below' your feet. With the former, properly hit shots will fly higher and shorter from an 'Uphill' lie, and lower and longer for 'Downhill' lies, so club selection becomes very important.

To play this shot, balance is everything, so again, less lower body but this time more arm and hand action would be required. For 'Uphill' lies, set yourself up as perpendicular (within reason) to the ground and play the ball in the centre or slightly ahead of centre in your stance. Following the lay of the land, bring the club back low to the ground and rise quickly through impact. No Flipping of the ball but use your upper body and Rise quickly. This is easily done due to the your body being perpendicular to the ground.


For 'Downhill' lies play the ball in the centre or slightly back in your stance, open the clubface a little so it can get under the ball easily and it's the opposite, rise quickly going back and keep it low through impact. As for setting yourself up perpendicular to the ground, yes and that means leaning into it... feels a little different but think about it... if not, you can still get away with it... the emphasis is on keeping the club low to the ground through and after impact. These basic fundamentals also apply to fairway lies of this nature, in both cases club selection is very important.





For the side hill lie, or the ball 'Above' your feet two things happen. Your swing will be on a 'Flatter Plane' or more 'around your body' so chocking down on the club is usually required, and the ball will work from right to left producing a 'Draw' or a 'Hook'.







With the ball 'Below' your feet, the opposite will happen. Your swing will be on a more 'Upright Plane' and the ball will work its way from left to right producing a 'Fade' or 'Slice'.





Now, for severe lies above and below your feet, like around the green, it's a little different. With the ball above your feet, the higher the ball the further left it starts so proper alignment becomes crucial. Not so if the ball is below your feet. The reason, you'll tip over. When the ball is below your feet, it's more about getting down and keeping your head still so you can play the shot............

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!! If the ball is 'Below' your feet, it is imperative to keep your head steady throughout the shot. Widen your stance, bend from the waist more if the ball is really below your feet, keeping your back relatively straight and use your legs to get to the ball. Again, feel like you're squatting through the backswing and keep your lower body very quiet. If your head goes up, which is the norm, you'll hit the ball 'Thin' or top the ball or even miss or 'Whiff' it. If your head moves down, 'Fats' the word and that usually means trying it again.

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ROUGH
When hitting out of 'Rough', the most important thing I tell all my students, and try to practice as best I can, is to NEVER give up on the shot. Decide what you want to do, taking into consideration all the factors: amount and direction of grass, high or low, short or long, hazards, stance, wind etc... Whatever the case, always Think, Believe and Execute. "Execute what you Believe, and Believe in your Execution", you'll be sorry if you don't.

Now without getting crazy, there are basically two kinds of shots. One is when the ball is sitting up nicely and the grass is going in the direction of the hole. This is referred to as a 'Flyer' lie. Play the ball as usual or ahead in the stance slightly and expect the ball to get into the air easily with very little spin. Expect it to roll when it hits, so plan accordingly. If you're 150 yards away and you usually hit a 7 iron, use an 8 and play for the roll.

When around the green, either chipping style or a combination will work, it all depends on the circumstances, what feels right and the confidence level that comes with it. If there is a hazard that you must contend with, here's a great time for the infamous 'Flop Shot'. Phil Mickelson is THE MAN at this shot. It can be played either from the rough, (easier depending on the conditions) or the fairway.

With an 'Open Stance' and 'Open Clubface', just like in the green side bunker, and the ball ahead slightly or off the front heal, set the wrists quickly and let the hands, predominantly the right, release the clubhead through impact. Again, very much like a regular bunker shot except with more wrist action. When done correctly, the ball goes up and down with very little or no roll at all. It's a great shot, especially if you have very little green to work with. This takes time and practice but well worth it.




The other is when it's in their deep. From somewhat difficult to real ugly. The grass is growing towards you and lots of it. Play the ball back in the stance slightly and hit down on it a little more with a good follow-through. Opening the clubface may ease the effect that the grass will have once it grabs the hosel of the club and turns the clubface inward.



When around the green, I prefer the relaxed method (right hand/release) with a little stiffness in the left wrist for the attack angle that will let me get the club in there and get the ball out. This will produce very little spin, lots of forward momentum and not much flight to the ball. In other words lots of roll so anticipate.

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FAIRWAY BUNKERS
Playing Golf is not easy, and one of the toughest shots in Golf is the 'Fairway Bunker' shot. In order to effectively hit this shot, and it's what I've been saying throughout the 'Short Game' section as well as this section, and that is keep your legs DEAD QUIET throughout the backswing.

By keeping your legs 'Dead Quiet', you're going to minimize the chance of over swinging at the top, spinning out of the shot through the finish and moving your head vertically, which produces a 'Thin' or 'Fat' shot.

The way to play this shot is quite simple. First off always take at least one extra club. If you take a 7 iron from 150 yards in the fairway, take a 6 or a 5 from the fairway bunker. Set you feet in the sand, not necessarily for good footing but for a 'feel' of how deep and 'Firm' or 'Soft' the sand is. Play the ball a little further back in the stance and to ensure hitting the ball first choke down on the club. Just a reminder, letting the club touch the sand or 'Grounding' the club at address in any bunker is against the rules and a 1 stroke penalty. Take the club back in a one-piece motion to a good 3/4 swing without rushing anything and let it go. Keep the legs 'Flexed' and 'Dead Quiet' making sure to sweep the ball off the sand not hit down on it.





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DIVOTS
Now this is really a pretty thing to see. You just hit, what was by far your best and ultimate drive of your life, right down the middle of the fairway and you're feeling GOOD. You finally get to your ball, cause you just CRUST IT, and you find it settled oh so nicely in a DIVOT. Oh the joy. Unfortunately, this is just part of the game, but it's also somewhat preventable by simply replacing your divots. The shot would have been much easier if the ball had settled on the replaced divot rather than in the divot itself. Both are difficult shots, but the former would be the easier of the two.

The way to play this shot, if no hazards are between you and the hole, is to play it like a 'Punch' shot. The ball back in the stance, clubface square, hands ahead at address and throughout impact, much like the Stiff left wrist chipping style, early setting of the wrists, 3/4 swing and hit down on the ball with confidence through to a somewhat restricted follow through.


If there are hazards to go over, simply play the ball forward in the stance, open the clubface slightly, full swing, hit down hard at the ball with the right hand leading the way and keep the hands from turning over until after impact.

With some practice, you'll have a new perspective on some of these so called 'Trouble Shots'.

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WIND
Playing in the wind is always fun but not that difficult. In strong winds, it's best to widen the stance slightly for better stability and basically you either play with or against the wind.

If the wind is from behind, off the tee get the ball in the air and let it go. The wind will increase the carry and roll. If going into the green and the wind is strong, try to play for the roll. If the shot carries to the hole, it'll be difficult to stop the ball on the green. With the wind in your face, going for the green, put the ball in the air and let the wind knock it down. From the tee, a 'Knock Down' shot, more on that a little later, works best. Either way, make sure to hit the ball hard enough to carry whatever hazards or the green. With 'Knock Down' shots you'll have less flight with more roll and shots up and in the wind, the ball will tend to land nice and soft and have little or no roll.

With crosswinds, again, 'with' or 'against'. If you have a left to right ball flight and the wind is left to right, let it help you carve your shot. If the wind is contrary to your regular ball flight, work against the wind, or again, try a 'knock Down' shot.

A what shot????? A 'Knock Down' shot. Simply play the ball slightly back in your stance, hands ahead and a 3/4 swing. Hit down on the ball with the right hand and try to keep the hands from releasing the club until after impact to a restricted follow-through.


Practice this shot. It'll be a money maker and trouble saver many times over.

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GOOFY GOLF
Golf, Goofy it is. Sometimes you'll find yourself in very interesting situations, so when practicing, it's always a good idea to try things out...... like playing left-handed with the club upside-down, or standing facing the other way and hitting backwards, etc.... You will be surprised how often you'll have to use some unorthodox stances, grips and swings. Hey who knows, maybe the only shot you've got is to hit the ball off of a rock, tree, wall or whatever.

Here are a couple of shots you might want to try......

Left-handed, with the club upside-down.....


Facing backward hitting forwards.....


These are some standard specialty shots, but by no means the only ones...... give them a try and get Goofy, you'll be glad you did.

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