Playing From Under the Trees Finalize a Plan

You need to have a variety of shot techniques at your disposal, and you need to follow some basic rules of thumb when faced with a golf shot from under trees. Now, it is time to think about how you will bring a plan together. Let’s walk through a step by step process of how you can go about making this tricky – but important – decision.

  • As you arrive at the ball, your first job is to take an overview of the situation. What paths do you see available? Is there any chance to reach the green, or even get close? If not, you will know right away that this is going to be a punch out or layup shot. If you do think that there is a way to get on the green, think about that option and weigh the risk against the reward.
  • Now that you’ve scouted the situation as a whole, start to eliminate options. Which options just seem too risky, or too unlikely, to consider? One by one, the best option will start to make itself clear. Believe it or not, this usually ends up being a pretty easy decision once you have eliminated the bad options. At this time, you are going to need to settle on the option that you will actually use to play the shot.
  • The next step is to switch from thinking about your various options to thinking about the shot you are actually going to play. How are you going to make this shot successful? Which club should you use, and what type of swing should you make? You don’t want to be answering these questions while you are standing over the ball at address. You need to think about all of this in advance. Only when all of the relevant questions have been answered can you get down to the business of hitting the ball.
  • It is now time to hit the shot. All of the decision making has been done, so do your best to clear your head and just focus on the job in front of you. Remember, there is no room for doubt or second thoughts at this point. You need to be fully committed to the plan that you selected. With any luck, the ball will come out cleanly and you will be able to move on to finish out the rest of the hole without any more trouble.

Too many golfers overlook the importance of going through a formal decision-making process. This is a valuable skill to develop for all of your shots, not just those played out of the trees. If you can stand over the ball with a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish, your game is sure to improve.