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Golf Tips: Playing Through Tricky Terrain

Has this ever happened to you? You walk up to a shot and see the green surrounded by water or bunkers. Suddenly, your heart starts beating a little faster, your palms get sweaty and you tense up, leading to a poor shot that leaves your ball in one of those hazards you so desperately wanted to avoid.

Well, you are not alone.

My best advice is to remember that most water features and bunkers are there to make the course look better, not to interfere with your play. Knowing this has helped me enjoy the view and relax enough to hit my shots freely and confidently in these situations.

Also, it’s OK to be nervous with these types of shots. But you can get rid of some of that tension by picking the largest part of the green to aim for without looking at the pin. Choose a club that would give you just a bit more distance than you’d normally want, then take a few deep breaths before you hit and swing easy, letting the club make up the distance.

If you work on your breathing on the driving range—and every time you play—whether you’re nervous or not, you’ll soon develop a routine that will allow you to calm your mind and body before these tricky shots and get back to enjoying the view. 

Ashley Wood is the head golf professional at the Incline Village Mountain Golf Course.

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