Tough Golf Shots Happen to Us All
As you can see I am in a difficult situation. I have a tree right in between myself and the green. I am about 175 yards out and this is the exact scenario that Luke Donald was faced with in 2007 the last round of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. He had to make a decision whether he wanted to try to play underneath this tree or play out into the fairway. Luke Donald is a world class player and he chose to try to play underneath the tree out of the rough.
How to Hit From Under a Tree
What makes this shot so difficult is obviously you have a tree in front of you and you have to keep the shot low but you have grass growing up around the golf ball. When you have that type of situation the clubface has a tendency to close in the grass and the ball can move to the left or stay too low. I am going to play the shot first that Luke Donald played. For most golfers it is a lower percentage shot trying to not only play it underneath this tree but play it out of the rough with a 4-iron. My goal here is to put my feet closer together, put the ball back in my stance, hands forward, weight forward, all those things are dedicated to trying to keep the ball lower and underneath the tree. Then I am going to have a lower follow through to again try to keep the ball under the tree. You can see I was able to get it under the tree and run it up there but it is a risky shot.
Try Hitting a Club with More Loft
What I should have done, and what most golfers should do, is take a club with more loft, chip it back out on to the fairway and that way you still have a chance for par. Knock it up on the green, have a chance to make your putt. When you get into trouble you want to get out in one shot. Unless the shot has an above average chance of succeeding don't play it underneath the trees, play it out to the fairway. That helps minimize those high scores on your scorecard.