Although nothing is ever perfect, I am a firm believer that consistent practice can lead to improvement, and the same can be said for golf. We are always told to go to the driving range to work on our game, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the driving range can’t prepare you for adversity. Instead, I suggest going on the course during twilight hours when its less busy and practice the “tricky” or should I say difficult shots. What I mean by this is practice the shots you hope to never use, but with practice you will be confident when you have to. Start with these shots:
The low punch out shot
One I like to always practice is a low trajectory shot under a tree, because let’s be honest we will likely have to use this at some point. You see, on the range you are unable to see if your trajectory is low enough to go under the tree, by going out on the course and practicing a few shots from this position you will be able to see if your trajectory fits under the tree. The good thing about this shot is you are still able to advance your ball far if your are in this situation.
Tip: Shorten your back swing for this type of shot and have a quicker follow through, this will reduce the trajectory of the shot.
The around a tree shot
Because trees are everywhere on the course, we may as well practice another shot that involves them. Another one I like to practice is a nice cut or fade around a tree or a set of them. Yes, you can practice this on the range, but like the previous shot above I like to be on the course and see where my ball ends up. This shot is useful if you have an opening but need to go around trees, more time than not going around is better than going over trees.
The downhill bunker shot
If you thought trees were bad, playing from a bunker is even worse, however they are all over the course and chances are you will have to play from them at some point in your round…..unless you are a stellar iron player, but even then you may come across them. I like to practice bunker shots where I am dealing with a downhill lie, much more difficult than typical bunker shot. It’s a tough shot to practice, but you will be thankful you did, no one wants to end up in this position and have to take 3 shots to get out of the bunker.
The downhill chip shot
This is a difficult one to maneuver, but it can be done. One of the tricky things about this shot is because of the downhill lie, our body will want to shift the weight to the back when in reality we want to be leaning forward with the slope. A lot of things can go wrong with this, the ball can be shanked, topped, skulled, popped out and who knows where it will end up. If your course has a chipping green take advantage of it, if not practice a few of these shots on the course.
Let’s face it, no golfer ever hopes to be in a position where these shots will be needed, but chances are at some point in your round you will face a bit of adversity. By practicing these shots, you will gain the confidence needed to get yourself out of trouble.
Trust me, no one wants to be the guy of the group who takes 3 shots to get out of the bunker, or even worse the guy who hits a tree dead on and have the ball come back and shank you in the face. Save yourself the trouble, and practice the difficult shots.
Are there any other types of difficult shots you practice? Feel free to share in the comment section below!