Most Disappointing Shot in Golf


In the spirit of this week’s “Your Icarito” and “How good are you at Golf?” threads, I would offer a non-exhaustive list of disappointing, dispiriting on-course fuck-ups that we all face. It takes a lot of time, practice, and money to get to a skill level where you can consistently put yourself in good position to attack a green. It takes even more to execute once you’re in that position, to not shit all over your good fortune.

More than a bad round, these shots will stick with you. Follow you. Haunt you. Get in your head every time you’ve got a green light for the green, or have a perfect lie in the fairway, or have a makeable putt for a red number. The universal experience of telling a playing partner after a good shot, “don’t worry, I can make bogey from there.”

The Club Up
On the first par five of the day, you’re feeling good, swinging easy, and not pressing. You place a good drive in the fairway, somewhere where you probably shouldn’t go for it, but that’s okay because you’re going to put your second shot in perfect position to attack this pin. You get up to your ball with a seven-iron in your hand, a solid 270 yards from the hole.

Thwump. You’ve topped it, and you’re lucky if the ball makes it 30 yards. Now, you’ve gone from sitting two, a hundred out, to sitting two, walking back to the cart to club up. Now, your chance at birdie rests with a perfectly struck 3-wood from distance. Good luck.

The Steam Shovel
You absolutely caught it on the screws. The 7th Hole is a mid-length par-4, and your playing partners left their balls on the ridge, but you managed to catch the speed slope and are sitting pretty with a lob wedge in your hand. You’ve got so much adrenaline, and beer, and God knows what else coursing through your veins, and you’re about to spin this ball back at the cup like a yo-yo. As you stand at address, you think about how you won’t even need to bring your putter to the green.

Trying to spin it can have its downsides. You get a little steep, then a little steeper, and then next thing you know you’re looking at a hole in the ground where the ball used to be. A Chinese family waves at you from the other side, then points ten yards down the fairway where your ball ended up. Your playing partner asks if you want a different club, but you just sheepishly ask him to bring your putter to the green as you approach the Sisyphean task of making better contact with your lob wedge.

The Comeback
Finally! A birdie putt. It hasn’t been the best ball-striking day thus far, but you finally put yourself in good position, dropping a nine-iron right behind the pin. You give it a read from both sides, see a little break but don’t want to give the hole away. Right before you start your backswing, you remember your father’s words: “Son, never leave a birdie putt short.”

Oh no. The ball takes off like it stole something, way too hard to catch the break. You can swear you can see the ball wave at the cup on its way by. At least I’ll have an uphill putt. The ball keeps rolling, keeps rolling, every revolution another degree of difficulty for your comeback. Finally, the putt comes to a stop, further away than you when you started. You hope they won’t say it, but finally, one of your playing partners raises his voice. “You’re still away.”

The Rodin
Not this time, you tell that sucker pin. The last two times you played this course, they put the pin up there on the front right, a few feet over the water. You remember trying to muscle a 9-iron last time, still came up short. Today, you tell yourself, I’m going to play smart. You grab the 8-iron and get ready to swing easy and swing with confidence. You’ve made the right decision.

You don’t even watch the ball land in the water. Why didn’t I take a bigger backswing? Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid… You’ve overthought it again, could have had a stock 9-iron and chose to decelerate on an 8 instead. You let your playing partners tee off while debating whether to go back and grab the 9 or head to the drop circle. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

The Regina George
Whew, that was a close one. Somehow, that ball hung up in the rough, a few feet from the water. It’s within the red stakes, but you know the rules: don’t ground your club, get yourself out of trouble, and play for par from the fairway. Taking the smart play, you pat yourself on the back. Right before you get in your stance, you yell out to the rest of your foursome, "I’d rather be lucky than good!”

Well, it turns out that you’re neither lucky nor good. That smart shot you through you were hitting? Rough grabbed the hozel, turned the club over in your hands. That hazard you thought you’d avoided? Ohhhh…you found it.


The Money Chunk

You have a few dollars on the line and your playing well, you leave an approach short of the green around the end of the round and your playing partners aren’t exactly in great shape. You know that a up and down here is likely going to increase that amount of $$$ in your pocket.

This is a straight forward up and down and you are half thinking about holing it, so instead of your go to bump and run club or god-forbid a putter, you grab a wedge cause you know your basically a tour pro and dead chilly dip it 3 ft. Your steaming so you fail to get that up and down and your solid round is ruined and $$$ has found its way into your playing partners wallet. FML


Not sure of the name for it, but its that thing, where you bomb a drive on a short par 4 or get near the green in two on a par 5, and then you have a poor wedge approach, followed by a stupid 3-putt, and you want to blow your brains out because one of your best chances at a birdie turned into a bogey.


3 Putt blues


My most disappointing shot?

The Equator:
You smash a drive down the middle and you’re sitting on the perfect number. You slowly take back your wedge that has never let you down. Your wrists lock into place and your arms begin pulling the club head back toward the earth. You feel the immense lag as the shaft bows at your thigh. Oh, god! Too fast! Too fast! Your front shoulder ejects and the vibration rattles your hands. You yell out, “Down! Down! Fuck!” as you watch your golf ball turn into a low-flying cruise missile that screams over the green and disappears into the detritus. You, my friend, just experienced the leading edge of your wedge smacking the ball’s equator.


This is a great post.

The Steam Shovel is a real part of my life.

I’ll take The Comeback a hundred times over The Center Cut, which is the putt that’s going dead in the center … except you just didn’t hit it and it comes up one roll short of the hole. That shit is infuriating to me.


C’Mon Maaahan

When you need to chip in to continue a match, but you flub it two feet and almost double hit it


The Flyer

You look down…you know there’s a chance…but is it really going to “jump” on you? Can you trust that it’s going to when there’s trouble short? Of course not, have to play it safe and assume whatever number a good swing should give you. You make the good swing and you don’t even have to look up…you know that 8-iron is going 185 with zero spin instead of stopping dead at 160 yards. And the worst part? It’s almost certainly the best feeling shot you hit all day. You caught a dreaded flyer.


I have AT LEAST one of each and every one of these shots every single round.


You think that’s some information I would like to know?!

You’ve just piped your driver down the sprinkler line and it’s definitely over 300 yards. Your one friend with course knowledge (you’ve never played this track before) goes “oooh man you might’ve hit that too good. There’s a creek I forgot to tell you about that sits at 295.” This course definitely doesn’t have yardage books and the only caddies on the premises hold mustard, ketchup and A1… Your now lie 3 for no good reason at all


This post needs a #trigger warning.


@3wiggle, ooh, thats a good one!

Similar one:

"Oops, bad line there"

Your hosting your buddies and they haven’t played your home track before, you have a few blind tee shots to navigate and so you have to do your best to guide them around. The issue is they f’n bomb it like 50 by you, so giving them a line is like playing at a new course.

You have some decent sight lines and after dropping a few idiot lines “like, there at that tree right there” your ready to bury your hands in your face. On 17 in a competitive match you tell them a “15 yard fade off that shack on the hill and you’ll be mint”. Well its executed basically perfectly and apparently 14 yards was better then 15 cause he is 1 yard in some brutal rough and that is moment you won’t soon live down. Who knew the fairway tightened WAY up there…

Your Icarito

Clubbing down for 'safety’

No need for a driver at this hole, a 3 or 5 wood or even a 3 or 4 iron will do…
Miss left or right in the rough and leave yourself next to no chance of getting close with your approach.


When the choice in your head is either hit a putt straight with pace or play for the break and you end up playing for the break with pace


I’m surprised at the amount of people on a No Laying Up message board who admit to laying back for a full wedge shot. At least you are admitting your shame.


Nomination for the 2nd putt on a green, when that second putt is longer than your first. I experienced this today on 15. Missed it. 3 putt from 6 feet! Sick!!!


When you’re the 4th person to putt in the scramble, and you leave it short. Given the three pieces of information to come before you, you know exactly what this putt does. You know as soon as you hit it that it’s not getting there, and the other three people counting on you quietly think they would have done better.

When the first putt you’ve made all day outside 3 feet is a 30 footer for bogey because you blew your first tee shot OB.

Jordan’s 3rd shot on the 12th at Augusta in 2016 final round.


Hit it wind!

Feeling a 10mph breeze gently roll across your daily play course, you are smart and know this left to right wind will accentuate your natural fade. The green is no joke, either: multi-tiered, well-bunkered on all sides, and a lateral hazard short-right of the putting surface. This wind is a no-no, but you are a ‘weekend scratch’ and know better.

Taking more club to let the fade wear some distance off (especially riding in the breeze today), you line up a little left of the pin. Stepping behind the ball, you visualize the ballflight with a gentle land and spin toward the hole. This is birdie city and I’m going to steal one!

You step to address, shimmy your stance to your line, anxiously realize you’re too close to the ball, shimmy away from it. No, that was too much, scoot closer. Ok, fine. club waggle, take it back. Shit that was too quick, I have way too much club. Where’s this wind anyways I don’t feel it and didn’t pay attention after the gust! Gotta release…over the top, divot at a 45 deg angle to my line. It’s pulled off my line, headed now for the back left bunker and will be a nice ol fried egg, and all I can muster out of my sheepish follow through posture is:

“Damnit, hit it wind!”


While We’re Young

Long par 5. You need a perfect drive and a perfect 3 wood to get there in 2. Lo and behold, you nutted your drive and are sitting where you need to be to have a shot at the green. You get to your ball, and the group in front of you is on the green. Everybody else lays up, leaving 3 guys waiting on you (plus the 4 guys waiting on the tee because they DEFINITELY can hit their drives 300 yards). After waiting for what feels like 10 minutes, you’re finally up.

CLANK! Worst contact of the day. Your best case is that you end up 50 yards short of the green with 7 people looking at you, wondering why the hell you were waiting for the green to clear. Most likely, you topped it 50 yards and now have to hit a perfect long iron to get on in regulation.

(The flip-side to this is that you don’t wait and end up hitting a perfect 3 wood that causes the guys on the green to have to scatter.)


Failure To Launch

After a night out of on the town, you find yourself scrambling to the first tee for your 8:30AM tee time with the regular group. It is a brisk fall morning and you are still trying to find equilibrium. Your playing partners suggest a light money game for the day. Two balls go into the air that find the fairway. As you step up to the tee, a sense of confidence rushes through your groggy body. You tell yourself “This ball is bound to find the center cut.”

4-iron in hand, you place your ball on the tee, step back, and take your first few swings of the morning. Yes, the back swing is roughly 57% of normal. Whoosh! You look up and see a low screamer quickly making its way towards the right OB. Not to worry - you have your breakfast ball for times like this. You struggle to grab the ball in your pocket - onlookers assuming you are playing pocket pool. Tee back in the ground. Regrouped. Ready to start the round. Whoosh! This time you look up and see the ball in the same exact window as the first shot. As your ball comes to rest in some guys backyard, you walk to the cart in absolute silence. The cart in front of you takes off - no words exchanged. You quietly whisper to your driver “I’m out on this one”. Failure to Launch.