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From the downhill drive to the uphill putt, there are some shots that almost every golfer can conjure at least a grain of positivity about. Sam Tremlett looks at the top 10 most appealing shots in golf.
For the average golfer, every shot can inspire bad memories and a general feeling of fear and self loathing as a consequence. But some are worse than others. We’ve covered the most terrifying shots in golf before, and thought it was time to think a little more positively. Here we look at the 10 most appealing shots in golf; scenarios that have us thinking, “Wait a minute, I reckon I can just about pull this off: Bring it on!”
1 – The downhill drive to a generous fairway
You feel you’ve been given a free pass on this one. Gazing out at a sprawling carpet of short grass below, it feels as though you can open the shoulders and just send one out into the deep blue yonder. You can envisage the ball soaring out there and staying in the air for an age before dropping silently and distantly onto the welcoming fairway.
2 – The iron shot from the perfect lie
Sometimes an iron shot can seem a daunting prospect but not with the ball sitting up like a coconut. Either lying perfectly on the fairway or proud atop the semi rough, it’s screaming to be skelped away. If you can’t make good contact from this situation, it might be time to take up bowls.
3 – The drive on a hole that suits your eye
A hole that turns gently in the direction of your usual shot shape should fill you with confidence. If you fade it left to right, or draw it right to left, the target is far easier to find on a hole that moves softly in that direction. The ultimate is when the hole opens up even more at driving distance on the side to which you are inclined to err.
4 – The uphill, straight 10 footer
Normally you might not back yourself to make a putt from this range. But slightly uphill, dead straight… You can nail this one. Straight back and straight through with a bit of pace on it and what can go wrong? Well, apart from pulling it or pushing it, racing it past and leaving a three-footer back down the hill… No, no. You’ve got this!
5 – The wedge shot from your perfect yardage
You’re on the fairway, you laser the flag and it pings back your perfect yardage. You have the club for this one. All it will take is a solid swing and a decent strike and you should see your ball land near the cup setting up a good chance. All you need to do now is execute the shot correctly… Easy!
6 – Slopes in your favour
Looking at an approach to a green you recognise that, where the pin is cut, anything landing on a particular side of the flag will filter down towards it. There’s significant margin for error here and you could still end up close… Happy days.
7 – Flop shot from a fluffy lie
From a distance, you look to be in quite a predicament. You’ve missed the green on the wrong side and a yawning bunker lies between your ball and the flag. Your playing partners tease you on the way down the hole, “time for the inner Seve to come out,” or “How’s your Phil Mickelson flop?” Your heart is pounding until you reach the ball and see it sitting on the most gorgeous patch of fluffy grass that's growing in the direction of the hole. You just know that if you open the face and slide it under the ball, it will pop up beautifully and land softly leaving you looking like a short game genius. You can pull this off and nonchalantly accept the praise of your pals as if you’re always that good.
Graeme McDowell on hitting the flop shot:
8 – Max distance with a fairway wood
You’ve boosted a drive down a par 5 and you can just about get there in two. There isn’t too much danger to speak of so it’s worth going for it. You have a yardage that you know, if you catch your fairway wood just right, it will reach. This is a chance for glory, an opportunity to set up an eagle try.
Fairway wood tips:
9 – That putt for an eagle
You’ve found the par 5 in two and left yourself an eagle chance. It may be a tricky one with a bit of break to consider but you know that, even if you miss, you should be left with a tap-in birdie. This should be a no-lose situation, pick up one shot or pick up two… what a prospect.
10 – A drive straight downwind to a firm fairway
You just know that, if you get this one airborne and travelling straight, it’s going to go absolutely miles. The hole is 400 yards but, if you pull this off, you could just about be using a putter for your second shot. Let it fly!
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?