Over the course of a round, a golfer will be faced with an array of shots — buried in a sand trap, from the middle of the fairway and stuck behind a tree, to name a few. Hitting a great shot under difficult circumstances provides a reward that keeps golfers coming back for more.
The tee shot is the first shot hit on each hole. It is played between two markers placed on the ground and offers the cleanest strike on the ball because it is sitting atop a tee, if so chosen, without obstruction. While the tee ball may be the easiest shot on which to make clean contact, it is also the one with the greatest potential to go wrong if hit poorly because it is the shot that generally travels the farthest. A misplayed driver can hook or slice sharply, leading to a lost ball or difficult second shot.
Midrange shots can be played with a wide variety of clubs, from woods to long irons to short irons. The key to succeeding on mid-range shots is to know the distance you generally hit the ball with each of your clubs. In conjunction, it is important to determine how many yards your ball sits from the hole or from your intended target. Most courses have markers at distances of 100 (red), 150 (white) and 200 (blue) from the center of the green.
The short game is overlooked by some players, who prefer to spend most of their practice time at the driving range. However, control around the green can prove key to a low score. The short game is generally considered those shots played from within 100 yards of, and on, the green. The most common types of clubs used for the short game are wedges, sand wedges and putters, though the more creative, skilled player will put nearly any club into play around the green.
Success with your putter comes down to two primary components: your ability to read breaks in the green and to control distance. The best way to improve both skills is to hit putts from varying distances and locations on the putting green.
Play from a sand trap is one of the most difficult shots to master. On a proper bunker shot, a player doesn't aspire to hit the ball cleanly because it is often too buried to do so. Instead, the player aims for a spot behind the ball and propels the ball out of the bunker by pushing sand into the ball. Because the contact is indirect, bunker shots often require large swings relative to the distance the ball will travel.