How to Hit a Golf Ball Out of the Rough, Downhill Bunker, Trees, or Water at Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Fairways and greens are a nice strategy, but most of us play from more troublesome lies. Here’s how to save your round when you’re not in the short grass


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golf trees

Chainsaw territory

As Joyce Kilmer said, “Only God can make a tree.” It’s a shame he had to put so many of them between my golf ball and the green. Harvey is reassuring, though. He says this is one time you actually have a chance to get up and down out of the trouble for par — assuming you have a path to the green under that pesky limb.

Before you get all excited and start swinging, though, plan the ball’s flight carefully. It’s going to come out hot and low, so you’ll need to pick a target that will allow it to run — where you want it to go — after it hits the ground.

Now, using a low-lofted iron like a five or six, address the ball in the middle of your stance. A lot of players think they need to play the ball back, but that just puts spin on it, which will cause it to balloon into the very tree you’re trying to avoid. Take a short back swing and then rotate your body so the club head goes through the ball to a short follow-through. Try not to swing with your hands and arms — you’ll lose control.

» Next trouble shot: Watery grave


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