So you’ve smashed your drive into the deep, dark woods, and none of the trick shots in Part I of this tutorial can get you out. Perhaps one of these will work:
The sharp slice: There’s a tree on your direct line, but room to the left. You’ll most often encounter this scenario from the right side of a fairway (if you’re right-handed.) You need a shot that starts wide of the tree and makes a hard right turn up the fairway. Play it like this.
- If you need to keep the ball low, take a less lofted club as a slice can sometimes shoot up off the clubface.
- Aim the clubface at the spot where you want the ball to finish (the target).
- Align your feet and body on the line where you want the ball to start.
- Play the ball in the center or slightly back, and make sure the blade stays aligned at the target.
- Gripping down, swing with your body’s alignment (not at the target).
- Hold the clubface open through impact; in other words, don’t allow the right hand to roll over the left.
The wicked hook: The reverse situation, with room to the right of a tree, usually encountered from the fairway’s left side.
- The ball will come out very low with lots of roll, so take a more lofted club.
- Aim the clubface directly at the target, or where you want to shot to finish.
- Choose your starting line, right of the tree, and align your feet and body there.
- Ball position should be around the middle of your stance.
- Grip down a little for control and swing with your body’s alignment.
- Limit your lower body movement, which will force the arms to roll over (release) through impact.
Switch-hitter: The dreaded ball-against-a-tree setup. First, make sure you’ve got room to swing, a decent lie and a line to safety that doesn’t require a long shot. Then:
- Take a mid-iron (5-7) and turn it over so the toe faces the ground.
- Address the ball from opposite your normal side (right-handers address it as a lefty), reversing the hands’ position on the grip.
- No need to make an interlocking or overlapping grip, so long as the hands are together.
- Take several practice swings to gain a little feel. Try skimming the ground or grass coming through.
- Set up at your target, hands ahead of the clubhead, take a short, accelerating swing and hope for the best.