Playing a golf shot from behind a tree or a hazard leaves several choices for the golfer. Having several choices surely can create a big problem. Most salesmen will tell you, leaving too many choices on the table can confuse the sale. I know that I am way off topic here, but having more than a couple of choices can really slow down the decision making process, and trying to sell yourself can be quite the task at times. Especially when there is a golf stroke involved. That is were a question and answer period has to take place, and if youíre trying to sell yourself the thought of making it around, through or over the tree in front of you, good luck!
Do you attempt to go over the hazard? Do you attempt to go around the tree from either side? The other alternative would be to go under the hazard. The safe golf shot would probably be to chip out of trouble, but a lot of us have like to go for the gold. Lets chip away at our options by asking a few simple questions and try coming up with a simple solution.
Iím sure this situation is a common problem for a lot of golfers, unless you hit the perfect golf shot all the time, and even a perfect golf shot down the middle of the fairway may land you behind trees that grow in the middle of fairways on some golf courses. To make a smart decision, you have to look at all your options and come to a reasonable decision on any attempt on trying to reach the green from behind trees. Taking your time on the decision making process is of great importance. Let us put a few options out in the open and see if we can make a wise decision.
First and foremost importance is choosing the right golf club. Ball placement distance to green has to be determined if you plan on going for the green. Let us assume that youíre 169 yards away from the middle of the green and itís the perfect distance for your 6 iron. We also came to the conclusion that in order to climb the tree in front of you, the 6 iron will not be enough club because of the height to get over the tree, therefore you may have to take a golf club with more loft and less distance and lean into the shot to make up for the distance.
One way of determining if you have enough loft is to stand behind the tree with the golf club in hand and place the golf club head on the ground with the face of the club towards you, and put the bottom of your foot on it and let the grip go. If the tip of the golf club shaft points up and over the tree, chances are the loft of the golf club is enough to go over the tree. If the tip if the golf club points at any part of the tree, chances are you need a loftier club. You may want to practice picking up the golf club head right away on the take-away to get more height from your golf clubs.
If you decide to do the opposite, and attempt to go under the tree, you have to do the extreme opposite with a more closed faced golf club, like a 3 iron, 4iron, 5 iron and maybe a low driver off of the grass depending on your lie. You may want to choke down on the golf club to take a little distance off the ball flight. Again more decisions have to be thought out, depending on how low the branches hang from the ground.
Another alternative would be to try and go around the obstacle. Going up and over or around the hazard will always make the golfer reach for a longer club because of the added distance. If you decide to go around the hazard, you have to make sure the golf ball does not go straight and youíre not going to end up in more trouble, unless you know how to maneuver the golf ball at will. Typically depending on side of the obstacle you decide to go, you may have to open or close the clubface to manipulate the direction of ball flight. If you must attempt to go around, assure yourself that you can spare the couple extra strokes it may cost you to end up right back where you started if you hit it straight out of bounds.
I know being positive is the way to think, but itís okay to face the possibility of human error to keep us within our capabilities. Staring the situation down with the least amount of fear is the positive mindset that we all like to play. Question you have to ask yourself in that moment of greatness; what is my handicap? Once youíre comfortable and honest with your answer, think no more! Take the shot!
Taking your time and going through a couple simple questions could help you save strokes. Try to avoid making quick decisions on the golf course. Try not to forget that you are paying and playing for the enjoyment of being out on the course. You have every right to take the time on the golf shot within reason. Other golfers do not like to play behind slow golfers either. If you think you have to rush the golf shot, it does not become enjoyment any longer. Talk to your group of golfers and possibly let the group behind you play through if you feel rushed.