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Easier exits from the trees

Western NY PGA Tips

It happens to every one who’s ever put a tee in the ground. From the number one player in the world all they down to a first time swinger. 

Hit a tee shot that misses the fairway and ends up in the woods. 

We’ll fix that driver swing another day. Today, the concern is how to move on and get the ball back into play. Often, the only exit is low. 

“The first thing we want to do is take a low lofted club. I really dont’t care what the yardage is. I have my 4-iron here,” says Mike D’Agostino, Head Golf Professional at Penfield Country Club. “My big concern is to keep this ball underneath the trees and get it back into play.”

To accomplish that, D’Agostino prescribes a stance with the ball in line with the back toe. Push the handle of the club, or the hands, a bit forward. 

“When you get the handle forward with the ball back in your stance, your weight is going to go forward and that’s going to limit your lower body movement,” D’Agostino says. “We don’t want any lower body movement in this shot. We want to keep it as low as we can.”

The back swing should be short, stopping around waist high. It should also be an easy swing. 

“What we see a lot of people do, if they swing hard at this ball, this ball is going to fly high in the air. It’s going to clip the trees,” D’Agostino says. 

This isn’t a miracle recovery shot. This is an admit your mistake and take your medicine shot. The goal is to get back in the short grass. Getting near the green, or on, is a bonus. 

“The last thing you want to do is try to get too much out of it, hit one of the trees and it comes back behind you, it comes right back to you,” D’Agostino says. “Now you just made your problems even worse.”

D’Agostino usually pulls a 4-iron for this shot because it’s the lowest lofted club in the bag. This shot can be executed with any club in the bag, but higher lofted clubs are going to be near impossible to keep under tree limbs. 

“What I would recommend is you find a club that you like the most and work with that club,” D’Agostino says. 

As with any golf shot, there’s a degree of feel required to decide on what club to use and when it’s the right situation. 

However, this isn’t a shot that warrants painting a picture. It’s all practicality. Just get out of the woods. 

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