The picture above is from the first round at the Travelers Championship yesterday. Bubba Watson was playing the ninth hole, his last hole of the day, and he hooked his first drive forcing him to hit a provisional ball off the tee. Luckily for Bubba, a woman, the resident of the home in the background, found his golf ball in the fescue just two yards from out of bounds and only fifty yards or so from the flag. Bubba was able to assess the situation, hit the shot on the green, and go on to make a par. Nice escape work!
Escaping from trouble is an often overlooked skill that great players possess. No, they do not have some unique genetic ability to hit these shots, but rather, they have lots of experience. The more experience the better, and we all know Bubba has plenty of experience getting out of trouble (2012 Masters anyone?).
Two other players that we have seen hit countess amazing recovery shots out of trouble are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two best players of the last 25 years. How did they get so good at these shots? Well, Tiger was known for throwing balls into the trees during practice on the course to try different scenarios. Over time, Tiger saw every conceivable variation of trouble in which a player can find himself. Just like with the full swing mechanics or the ability to hole short putts repetition was the key.
So, next time you find yourself in trouble, look at it as a challenge and a learning opportunity. Regardless of the outcome, you will be more equipped to escape from a similar situation the next time you are in one.