Something for the Weekend: How to escape from a tricky spot

This week, our Friday tips series shows why ambition, balance and knee flex are the key to this shot

Posted: 7 December 2012
by Bob Warters

Leigh Davies faces a tricky lie
Innovate to escape

Whether you're Rory McIlroy or just starting out in this game, you can be sure a round of golf will provide you with a difficult shot from a difficult lie somewhere down the line.

In the latest of our Something for the Weekend series, here's an example handled by six-handicap Leigh Davies, European marketing manager for Titleist golf clubs, during a round we shared at Stoke Park's par-5 13th.

Somehow his tee shot skipped through the fairway bunker but finished tantalisingly on a severe grassy upslope leaving him in two minds whether to go for the well-protected green 195 yards away or lay-up to a comfortable yardage.

Recalling the shot, he says there are valuable lessons to be learned when faced with a tricky situation.

“I've been playing long enough to know that in these situations it's best not to be too ambitious. This was my second shot on a par-5 and taking a long iron and trying to reach the green from this sort of position brings a big number into play. My focus was simply to find the right spot for my third shot and play the hole sensibly. 

“I'm not sure that my technique in the picture is technically correct - a pro might say I'm leaning into the slope too much - but I did make a decent job of escaping from a fairly tricky spot.”

The secret, he says, is to consider the slope, swing within yourself and use more knee flex.

Says Leigh: “The tendency with a stance like this is to hit the ball higher than normal. So, while I had a lip to clear I knew the height wouldn't be an issue and rather than hitting wedge I played the shot with a 9-iron and simply tried to punch the ball forward and back into play. 

“Taking a full blooded swipe at the ball from this sort of position is liable to result in disaster. With such an awkward stance it's easy to lose your footing and with the ball below you feet it's hard to maintain your posture through the swing. To counter this my focus was on hitting a smooth knock down shot and I tried to keep my weight transfer reasonably minimal to prevent any loss of balance. 

“The image might suggest otherwise but I was trying to bend my knees a little more than usual. A fault of mine is to be too straight-legged or at least I straighten the right knee during the swing. But for this shot you simply have to bend your knees more as the ball is further below you than normal.”

Next time you're out on the course and faced with a tricky escape, get a pal to take a picture of the situation and submit it on the forum and talk us through your escape - good, bad or indifferent. Alternatively email us with words and a picture, tweet them to us @Golfmagic or post them on our Facebook page.

Want more?

Head to our Something for the Weekend index.

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Discuss this story

What a pussy. 195!!

Hit a lofted rescue off the back foot with a soft swing and static lower half. The result - a high soft draw to 10 foot

Posted: 08/12/2012 at 19:05

The ball was sitting up like a peach, he had an almost perfect stance, no apparent lip to go over...why wouldn't anyone hit a hybrid from there.

9 iron???????

Posted: 09/12/2012 at 02:21

Although if you did catch it a little fat off that lie, it's fair to say you'd probably break your wrist.

Posted: 09/12/2012 at 03:15

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