Removing Loose Impediments
You know I am sure you never do this, but regretfully this shot got away from me and you can see that it is sitting in some pretty dense rough with a lot of stuff around it. Before I even look at the shot the first thing I want to do is make sure that the lie is conducive to what I think I want to do. So when you have a lie like this you need to get in here very, very, very gently and just clean house. The more high things I take off the ground the higher it makes the ball seem that it is sitting on that ground, here is a leaf I do not like. Now all of a sudden that is a good lie. It did not start out looking like one but now it does.
Pick Your Target
Now I want to start making my decisions about where I want to go and how I am going to get there. The first thing I do is I look at the shot at hand. I am about 60 five to 70 yards, between me and the pin is a bunker, a lot of rough and trees and now I need to find the best way out of here. Let's start to my left. I have a nice wide opening in front of the green. If I can hit it 50 or 60 yards out of here into the fairway then I can go up the front of the green and my chances score wise will probably be a four.
Assess Your Options
If I feel like I want to gamble just a little bit I come around here over to my right and I am now going to be 20 five or 30 yards short of the pin, still going up towards the center of the green but with half as long a shot. It is a little more difficult because there is a little more tree influence but overall it is not that hard a shot. Choice number three is if I am a good bunker player maybe my best shot is with a pretty straight faced club like a five or 6-iron, hit the ball towards the fringe short of the bunker, run it into and maybe if I am lucky out of the bunker, but if I am a good bunker player I do not really care if I am in the bunker, I am going to get it up and down and so I am going to make a three or four from here.
If I am feeling really, really, really greedy then I am going to try to hit it between the two branches above the pin on that tree just to the left. That is a really low opponent and if you were my opponent I would hope you would play that one, but since it is you and we then I do not want that one. Then my last option, and the one that most people would never find, is over here to the right of the green. If I can land that ball in the shadows and let it run into the sun I am coming into the pin from the right side and I love that landing area over there, it is very well manicured rough. I guess now the key is which one am I going to play. I am going to play the third one.
Play to Your Strengths and Weaknesses
I am going to my bag take out my 5-iron, I am going to run my ball in to and hopefully through the bunker, let's see what happens. My preparation here is such that I am going to choke down on the club and hit down on the ground, listen. I need to get the feel of that club running into the ground so I know how tough or hard the ground is because it is going to tell me how fast the ball is going to come off the face. I set up for a low shot, choking down, aiming just right of the pin, the ball is back a little and watch. Oh man, it ran right up the lip, it got to the top and it kind of said, nah I do not want to come all the way out. Now the ball is sitting in the bunker, fifteen feet from the pin, so I have a very easy bunker shot. If you are a very good bunker player that is the shot you want to play. So when you are playing golf do not assume anything. Find the routes and then you pick the route that best fits your game relative to your talent level. Have fun with this one because it is a neat shot.