12 Most Annoying Golf Shots

In this video and article, Neil Tappin runs through the 12 most annoying golf shots

A golfer missing the ball (left); A golfer working out if his ball is in bounds or not (right)
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

As anyone who has played the game will know, there often is a fine line between a good shot and disaster. However, there are some shots you hit that just seem to get you even hotter under the collar than others. From skying drives to the dreaded shank, in the video and article below we run through our list of the 12 most annoying golf shots!

12. Airmailing the green

A golfer hitting an iron shot into the 13th at Royal Troon

Thinking you've hit a great approach shot only for it to sail over the green is a sickener

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

You've got yourself in a good position off the tee and can think about attacking the flag to get a precious birdie. You then make your calculations for what club to hit but unfortunately you've got them wrong. You think you've hit a good shot but before you know it you've flown the green into some bushes.

11. Three-putting for par

A golfer lining up to hit a putt at Essendon Golf Club

When you miss out on the eagle AND the birdie... painful

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Usually this happens on a short par-4 or a par-5 you're able to reach in two. You've hit a great shot, or a couple of them, and the hard bit is supposed to be done. But then in the blink of an eye you're walking to the next tee seething because of the par you've had to write on the scorecard. It should have been an eagle or birdie!

10. Leaving your ball in a bunker

PGA pro Jo Taylor hitting a bunker shot at Essendon Golf Club

This can turn into a card-wrecker

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Hitting a good shot out of a bunker is a fine line between taking the perfect amount of sand, too little, or too much. For amateurs the last shot is more common, which results in leaving your ball in the bunker, in either the exact same spot you'd just played from, or a plugged lie further up the face of the bunker.

9. Lip outs & bounce outs

Nasa Hataoka (JPN) lips out her birdie putt on 14 during Rd1 of the Marathon LPGA Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club on July 8, 2021

Sometimes you'd rather it missed the hole completely 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Golf is a brutally difficult sport that regularly tests a person's patience and will power. The good breaks never outweigh the bad, which is why it is incredibly annoying when you are convinced you've holed a putt, only to see it lip out or hit the flag and stay above ground.

8. Duffing chips

A golfer preparing to hit a chip shot on the 14th at Royal Troon

We've all faced this shot before and had it go horribly wrong

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

This is very easy to do, especially if you're faced with a shot from a tight lie over a bunker or a hazard. But that doesn't make them any easier to deal with. In fact, a duffed chip is probably one of the most demoralising you can hit. More often than not these shots are also utter card-wreckers and do nothing positive for our moods.

7. Skying tee shots

A golfer hitting a tee shot at Essendon Golf Club

This one can damage your club too

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

This sometimes doesn't matter all that much in terms of the scorecard, but it is annoying because of the damage it tends to inflict on our golf clubs. It always seems to happen to our favourite old clubs too and the sky mark is there for eternity to act as a constant reminder.

6. Missing short putts

A golfer lining up a putt at Essendon Golf Club

These ones really hurt

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

From about 18 inches, we should never really miss a putt but it does happen. The main reason for this is players not paying enough attention to the putt because they think it's a foregone conclusion. It's happened to everyone who plays the game at one point or another, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

5. Mucking up recovery shots

A golfer attempting to hit a shot from behind trees at Essendon Golf Club

It's hard to resist taking on the hero shot

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Too many of us want to take on the heroic recovery shot when we have found trouble. The sensible play is almost always to chip out into the fairway but we rarely do this. As a result we take on the tough shot, put ourselves in more trouble and then question why we didn't just chip out in the first place.

4. Leaving putts short

A golfer putting at Essendon Golf Club

There are few worse feelings than leaving a makeable putt hanging in the jaws

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The old saying 'never up, never in' is valid here and this shot gets even more annoying if we are lucky enough to have a putt for birdie.

3. Going out of bounds

A golfer checking if his ball is out of bounds or not

Is it in or out?

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

This is annoying for several reasons; chief among which is the fact you have to reload and attempt to hit the shot again. This is not only terrible for your scorecard as it's likely to cost you a double-bogey or worse, but also because it probably means you've needlessly gifted a shiny premium golf ball to the course.

2. Thinning bunker shots

A golfer hitting a bunker shot at Essendon Golf Club

Catching the ball thin out the bunker can lead to disaster

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

This shot is high up our list because the results of this can be truly disastrous. You could thin it over the back of the green into trees, bushes, water and out-of-bounds. Or you could thin the ball into the face of the bunker. If it flies into the air it will then plug back into the bunker and in some instances the ball can get stuck in the face of the bunker too.

1. The shank

PGA pro Dan Grieve hitting a shank at Infinitum Golf Resort in Spain

The shank strikes fear into golfers like no other shot

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Better known as the unmentionable, the shank is truly destructive and annoying. Not only does it negatively impact your scorecard but also your mind as you don't know where it came from or where the next one is coming. This makes the next shot very difficult indeed.

Sam Tremlett
E-commerce Editor

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for.


Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel. 

He also oversees all Tour player content as well so if you need to know what clubs Tiger or Rory has in play, Sam is the person to ask. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 


Sam's What's In The Bag: 

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9 degrees) 

Fairway Wood: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚ 

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Shoes: G/FORE Gallivanter/Nike Air Zoom Infinity NEXT%/Cuater The Ringer