The pop-up won't always hurt you. For instance, if you're playing a three-shot par 5, you have plenty of time to make up lost ground. Still, the hang time means you'll have to watch it longer than any other bad shot. That image can be haunting, and you never quite know where your ball will finish.
The Snap Hook
The snap hook usually feels great on contact, which is what makes it so frustrating. The solid strike that you thought would send the ball down the middle only ensures it will disappear into the woods as quickly as possible.
The "banana ball" is the most common amateur mistake, but that doesn't make it any easier to stomach. Very often it gives you a glimmer of hope by starting out straight, then makes an abrupt right turn toward oblivion. In a cruel irony, the more you aim left to compensate for a slice, the more the ball slices, meaning your next shot could be from just about anywhere.
The Bunker Leave
It's never a good sign when you're hitting two consecutive shots from the same location. It's even worse when you're hitting a shot from behind the previous spot. Both of these scenarios are possible when you leave a shot in the bunker. On the positive side, your golf course probably has too much sand in its bunkers, so thanks for trying to get rid of some of it.
Hogan often said the secret to the game is in the dirt, but that doesn't mean you should be taking up pieces of earth the size of a small dog. The worst kind of chunk is the one that leaves you still away, because it means you're up again and don't have a chance to calm down. Unfortunately, overcompensation often leads to...
You're on a par 5, 50 yards from the green in two. You're thinking birdie, assuming no worse than par. But when you're third shot goes screaming into the woods behind the green without ever getting more than four feet off the ground, double bogey looks more realistic, and you're cursing the day you first took up this maddening game.
It's never pleasant when you take a big rip with a 3-wood, going for a par 5 in two, and instead hit the top fraction of the ball, sending it bouncing weakly, 30 yards down the fairway. The worst time for the top, however, is on a par 3 with forced carry. Tee it up again -- hitting three.
How do perfectly good putters end up in the water? Because when you miss a 2-footer to win a hole, that's the only logical place for it. What's most maddening about missing a short putt is you can often feel it coming, but no matter how hard you try to remove it from your mind, the thought just won't get out. And inevitably, your ball won't go in.
Possibly the most embarrassing "shot," the whiff is pretty rare among golfers who are anything but brand new to the game. Those new players might wonder how there could be a more frustrating shot than one where the ball is never touched. This is how...
In golf, no four-letter swear is more taboo than this five-letter word. What separates the shank is the way it can spread. Hit one on the fifth hole of a round and there's at least a chance you'll shank every shot for the next 13 holes. There is a great scene in 'Tip Cup' where Kevin Costner is on the driving range at the U.S. Open and, carrying an awful case of the shanks, sends other players on the range scurrying as his ball skids sideways down the line. But in real life, there's nothing funny about the shanks.