10 Most Demoralising Golf Shots

A run down of the 10 most demoralising golf shots

Most Demoralising Golf Shots
(Image credit: Future)

In this video and article, we run down the 10 most demoralising golf shots a player can hit, from losing your opening tee shot to three putting from close range!

10 The Failed Chip Out
Your tee shot has finished in the trees but you’ve found your ball. Phew. Now for the simple task of chipping it back out and into play. The problem here arises when you start to get too greedy. Instead going at right angles to the hole, you channel your inner Phil Mickelson and take on a smaller gap in the trees that gets you closer to the green. The sound of golf ball against timber is usually followed by the anguished mutterings of a demoralised golfer. We’ve all been there!

9 The Go-To Bad Shot
You’ve been struggling with a hook all year so you decide to do something about it. You take some lessons and devote yourself to practice in a bid to rid your game of this destructive shot. Then you head out onto the course, card in pocket, brimming with anticipation. Before you know it, your old foe makes an ugly reappearance. “Why do I bother?!”

8 The Shank
We’ve all done it, we all know how painful it is. Let’s move on shall we?

7 The Duffed Chip
Alongside putting this feels like it should be the most straightforward part of the game. But with any delicate shot, so the mind can play tricks. In this instance, a moment of panic kicks in just as you start your downswing. The clubhead slows faster than an F1 car entering the pit lane and the ball travels less than a yard. “Put me down for a double.”

6 The Mis-Placed Safety Shot
You’ve decided to play the percentages and instead of hitting your driver at every opportunity, you opt for a smarter strategy. What could go wrong? Well you could (and probably will) push your 5-iron into a fairway bunker.

5 The Close Range 3-Putt
You’re faced with a simple 10-footer for birdie. This could be the turning point in your round. However, just as your eyes light up so your hands get a little over-excited. As the video with this article shows, you hit the first putt three feet past and miss the return. Ouch.

4 The ‘Too-Cute’ Fail
This time you’ve missed the green and short-sided yourself. You have a bank to go over and the pin is perched at the top. You have one simple instruction to follow - don’t get too cute. Sadly, your brain has decided not to listen to itself and you find yourself facing the exact same shot all over again.

3 The Bad Opening Tee Shot
Nothing demoralises a golfer faster than losing your opening shot. You’ve hardly stepped foot on the golf course and you already want to go home. Take a deep breath - it is going to be a long day!

Related: Golf Rules Lost Ball 

2 The Double Provisional
Having to hit a provisional ball is demoralising enough but what happens when your 2nd attempt goes in exactly the same place as your first? “How is this possible?” At this point all that’s left to do is wave goodbye to any hopes of a handicap cut and don’t forget to head into the pro shop to replenish your golf ball stocks!

1 The Missed Opportunity
Your tee shot has finished in the water, you’ve taken a drop and you’re now faced with a tricky half pitch over the same penalty area. At this point, you’re in danger of making a cricket score. However, much to your surprise you don’t panic and you hit a beautiful approach that finishes 5ft away. What a shot! Missing the resulting 5-footer is certainly one of the most demoralising shots in golf!

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X