How many times have you hit a golf shot and thought it would end up next to the pin, only to see it land in the sand, 20 feet short of your target? It happens to every golfer at some point. It's all about picking the right club, which is not as easy as it seems. There are several factors that go into making the best choice.
Visualize the flight of the ball before you decide on a club. Stand behind the ball, close your eyes, and imagine the ball's ideal flight to the target. Do you envision the ball flying high or low? Do you see the ball hooking or slicing toward the target? Are there any hazards you must cross on the way to the target? All of these questions must be answered before you choose a club.
Pay close attention to the force and direction of the wind. If you are hitting into a strong wind, pick a longer club than you would normally hit for the distance. If the wind is blowing toward the target, use a shorter club. If it is blowing from the left or right, you might use your normal club but aim more into the wind to allow for carry.
Take note of the position of your ball in relation to your target. For example, if your ball is in a place that is below the target, your ball will not fly as far as if you were parallel to the target, so hit a longer club. If your ball is above the target, take less club because your ball will fly farther.
Be certain of your lie, even if your ball is in the fairway. If your ball is in a bad lie, you will not hit it as flush and it probably won't fly as far, so that would warrant a longer club. This is particularly true if your ball is in tall grass. Also remember that you most likely will not be able to put as much backspin on the ball from a bad lie, so factor that into what club you're hitting.