How to Hit your Golf Ball Out of a Difficult Position

By John Elliott

How to Hit your Golf Ball Out of a Difficult Position

Pick Up Sticks

If this shot seems really familiar to you then you need to come see me for a golf lesson because one of your goals in golf is to not spend your day under the shade of the trees. It is to stay out in the sunshine where it is a little more beautiful, but you do not run into shots and lies like this. Let's look at this lie. The ball is now in the rough where there are a lot of pine needles, a couple of tree branches and hard pan. Hard pan is kind of scary to most people, let's do this, let's clean this up. As a kid I used to play Pick Up Sticks for this very reason, that is true. The ball is oscillating but it is not moving, that is fine, I think I can get all of these at one time. Look how nice the lie is beginning to look. Even though it is on hard pan there are not a lot of other things interfering now, that is perfectly legal. So now I actually have a good lie. My definition of a good lie is when you can see the entire back of the ball. I would like to move this little pine needle but if I do the ball will move so I will leave it there. It is not going to win the battle between a steel head and a pine needle.

Assess Your Options

So now let's look at the shot, we are on hard pan, we are going to hit it out here on to the fairway so that I can then go to my right and then on to the green. To fly it on to the fairway is 30 yards and to fly it beyond the fairway is 75 yards. I have a pretty liberal landing area and because it is hardpan the ball will always come off the face a little bit lower than what you are planning, especially if you hit the ball correctly, so I am going to hit a pitching wedge and anticipate flying the ball 50 yards. Why, because that puts the ball right in the center of the fairway which then allows me to hit the simplest next shot up to the green.

Test the Ground and Choke Down

One of the keys here is to get a feel, listen, of this ground. Now this is not legal, I am not allowed to bang the club on the ground, but I am allowed to take a practice swing and get a feel. Notice that even though I am hitting down that club is barely breaking the surface because that ground is hard, we are on limestone. So now to prepare myself to hit a club off of hardpan I am going to choke down on the club with my weight on my front foot, visualizing a nice steep angle of approach as though I were to take a pinecone and put it behind the ball and miss it both ways. Both going back and coming down. In fact because it is there let's play it that way.

Striking the Ball

Here we go. The ball is right in the center of the fairway, right at the 50-55 yards I wanted to go. I took a nice little divot here and as you can see I did not come close to the pinecone either way because I choked down, I leaned myself to the left, my forward foot, which then changed the arc of my swing to one that is traveling more on a vertical plane colliding with the ground, there is my dust being thrown up. When you have a hardpan lie the key is to hit the ball and then the ground, so you set yourself up to do that. good luck with this shot. It is a fun shot to play.


ACTIVITY FEED

Rory G. joined GolfLink

Richard D.  Scored 111 at  Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California

Teno N. joined GolfLink
Michele B. joined GolfLink
John X. joined GolfLink

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
How to Master Your Backswing Shoulder Turn in Any Style of Swing Watch Video>>

Step-By-Step Golf Set Up Position The whole golf swing is action and reaction, so how you set up to the golf ball determines how you will swing the golf club
The Correct Way to Unhinge Your Wrists for a More Powerful Downswing Learn a simple exercise to correctly unhinge your wrist during your downswing
The #1 Tip You Need to Know about Proper Putting Technique The most important aspect of putting is to have the putter head come back inside the target line to avoid creating angles