The Most Frightening Shots in Golf
GOLF is meant to be fun. We play because we enjoy the game and spending time with people who enrich our lives.
It is a sport that is meant to put a smile on our faces. But there are times when golf can kick you where it hurts. I am talking about the shot we all dread playing but all have to face at some time in our lives.
So, without further ado, here are my most frightening shots in golf:
It doesn’t matter how long you have been playing the game, probably the shot most of us lose sleep over is the opening drive. The majority of us haven’t warmed up properly and stand over the ball knowing that many eyes are boring into our backs, waiting to have a right good chuckle if you hit it out of bounds of duff it. Oh and, of course, that is a brand new ball you have just smashed into the forest.
The group in front has finally decided to wave you through. Everybody else in your group has hit perfect shots. And then it is your turn. You have been playing well all day. Until that moment. Your ball goes flying in the direction of one of the people who has waved you through. You scream “Fore” and look on in absolute horror as he fails to get out of the way. Fortunately, there is no serious damage done.
Three-Foot Putt on The 18th to Win
You have putted like a god all day long but so has your opponent. And so you come to the final hole all square and you hit a great approach to “that distance”. You have left yourself a three-foot putt to win with a little touch of left to right break on a lightning fast green - and that means you cannot dribble it into the hole. Inevitably, as you stand over the ball, memories of all those missed tiddlers enter your head. After what seems like an eternity you finally mange to draw back the putter and the ball does a full 360-degree loop before somehow dropping into the hole. Your opponent is not amused!
Three-Foot Putt on The 18th For Your Best Ever Gross Score
This is even worse than the putt to win a matchplay contest because you never really know if the opportunity will come along again. What makes it worse is that you will be standing over this putt in the company of people who know the importance of the shot you are about to play - because you were stupid enough to tell them on the 18th tee. If you hole it you will be expected to buy the drinks. If you miss it you will never hear the end of it.
Downslope in a Bunker With Water on The Other Side of The Green
This will invariably happen when the sand is rock hard, meaning that there is every chance that you are going to thin it and end up in the lake. I have a friend who always reaches for his putter under such circumstances. Not me though. I am a “proper” golfer. I would rather hit it into the water, drop a ball and walk off with a triple-bogey. Or worse!
Plugged Lie in a Bunker
Let’s be honest, even the very best golfers on the planet will tell you that they just hate finding a ball plugged in a greenside bunker. All you can do is to hit the ball as hard as you possibly can and hope. The best outcome will see the ball come out in a flurry of sand and stay on the green. The worst is that you will bury it even deeper in the sand - I once played with somebody who actually lost his ball. We knew it was buried in there somewhere after he hit it but none of us could find it!
Downhill Putt on a Fast Green, Hole Near The Front, Green Guarded by Water
This is probably my least favourite shot. You know it’s quick. You know that if you hit it too hard you are going to be standing there helplessly, watching your golf ball follow its inevitable trajectory into the water. So what do you do? You make an ugly twitch with your putter - and the ball travels two feet. And you are faced with the same conundrum all over again!
Shot Close to a Tree
No matter how many practice swings you take and no matter how many times you convince yourself that you cannot possibly hit that tree trunk with your follow-through you really can’t quite bring yourself to believe it. So you either quit on the shot and see it dribble six feet. Or you hit the tree trunk with your follow-through!
200-yard Par Three With Pond in Front
Invariably, you will be standing on the tee to this particular hole while a gale-force wind is howling straight into your face. You know that you should be reaching for your driver. You know it. So what do you do? You pull out a four iron (which you have maybe once in your life hit 200 yards, with a 40mph tailwind), you hit the ball perfectly, it soars up into the sky, stalls and lands in the water. At least 50 yards short of making the carry.
Drive With a 200-Yard Carry to Clear The Heather
This will happen when you are driving the ball like a drain - and on a course where there are many such holes. To make matters worse, there will be a sign somewhere forbidding you from dragging your trolley across the heather. This is a day and a course when you may want to take plenty of golf balls with you.
Flop Shot With Trouble Either in Front of You or Long
Remember when you attempt to hit a 40-yard flop shot from thickish rough that you are NOT Phil Mickelson. And that means the chances of it coming off are slim to non-existent. I am consistently astonished by how many club golfers believe they can play this shot when it is one they never practice. In truth, they never practice any shot. And then they are surprised when the ball moves 10 feet or they catch it with the sole of the club and then ask: “Did anybody see where that went?”
Long Approach Over Water
Is there a scarier shot in golf? Well yes, probably almost all of the above actually. But this may be the most difficult. The ball will be in a bare lie and, again, there will be a headwind. You know in your heart of hearts that you should lay up. Is that what you actually do? Of course it isn’t. You know the result. Water! Every time!
Approach to The 18th With Club Members Sitting on The Patio
Oh God! It is a glorious day, blue skies, sunshine. And that can mean only one thing - the patio that overlooks the 18th green will be packed with peering eyes. And you just know that if you mess it up there will be ironic cheers. Hit it to two feet? Silence!
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