Escaping From Trouble

Updated: November 7, 2011
Trouble Shots

Does that happen?  On occasion we may have a round where everything seems to go right, but that isn’t the norm.

That’s why learning to control the ball is the fastest way to a better score, instead of relying on booming drives off the tee.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  We are continuously challenging ourselves to play better and better.   We are looking to get more distance from our drives or attempting shots we aren’t 100% comfortable with.

The inevitable will happen, we’ll end up with a trouble shot.  We then need to decide how to get out of the rough and salvage the hole.

Often time’s as golfers, we make the wrong decision when faced with a trouble shot by not erring on the safe side.  It’s hard to accept that one more shot or a different iron might be a better solution.

You might think you can clear that tree with a 7 iron, but if there are any doubts whatsoever it would be wise to select a ‘safer’ 8 or 9 iron just to be sure.

Consider using a pitching wedge if you aren’t completely sure you will make the shot with the 9.

A safe shot can set you up for a good recovery by placing the ball in an easier position whereas taking risks might mean you don’t make any gains at all.

It’s like a seasoned gambler where you know the odds and playing safe often leaves more money on the table at the end of the day.

Golf is all about making the right decisions more often than not and a decision not to play safe can be detrimental to your score, particularly when the distance you might have gained with another club would probably have been minimal anyway.

Always play within your skills when you find yourself in difficult situations.

Salvage bad shots and then take a few extra chances when there is less likelihood of error.


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  1. Troy Vayanos

    November 16, 2011 at 16:01

    Yes great advice,

    It’s important particularly as you say to take a higher lofted club when hitting out of the rough when you miss the fairway. The object shouldn’t always be to get it back on the green but at least get it back in a playable position. From there you should be able to back yourself even if you come up short to get up and down for par.

  2. Denny

    March 26, 2012 at 22:33

    Smart golf is the best golf. Always assess the risk versus reward for every shot. Also determine the percentage you have of hitting the shot you are contemplating. If you sense a problem in either area, play it safe and don’t go for the “sucker play.” Save the career shot for a safer shot with better odds.

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