All golfers hit bad golf shots, even the best players in the world. It’s what great players do after a bad golf shot that makes the biggest difference. I know you are thinking that great players will hit miraculous recovery shots which put them back into position to make a birdie or par on a hole. This is certainly the case sometimes and is a result of understanding some basic concepts of the elements that affect ball flight and how. However, great players also know when to take their medicine (See Tiger above) and just get the ball back in play because they understand when the factors affecting ball flight will simply not allow for that miraculous recovery shot. Let’s review two basic concepts of these trouble shots.
First, without getting into the nuances of different lies in the rough, the rough will generally reduce spin on the golf ball as there will be too much grass between the club and the ball. This means that the ball will not launch as high and will not curve right or left as much. When faced with a shot out of the trees this must be taken into consideration when choosing the proper club to keep the ball below branches or trying to predict how much you will be able to curve the ball around the tree.
Secondly, when the ball is above your feet the ball will tend to go to the left for right handed golfers and when the ball is below your feet the ball will tend to fall to the right. On uphill lies the ball will launch higher and on downhill lies the ball will launch lower, therefore the club selection must be adjusted accordingly.
Take the time to go through these concepts and come up with combinations of uneven lies and ways that you must curve the ball and think of different types of lies in the rough. See if you can figure out quickly how you would adjust to create the desired ball flight. Also, remember to realize when to take your medicine and just get the ball back in play.