The Loop

The 26 hardest shots in golf for the average player

September 01, 2015

Arnold Palmer once said that, "Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated." And if this is coming from a man with seven major titles under his belt, what hope do the rest of us poor bastards have?

However, not all golf shots are created equal in complexity. Some are much, much worse. Here are the 26 hardest shots to hit in golf:

The tee shot on No. 1

It's a mix of jitters, as you're likely hitting in front of a contingent of players and on-lookers near the clubhouse and putting green, as well as wanting to start your round off right. Odds are, you won't.

The opening tee shot after you've insisted on playing from the tips despite the starter strongly urging otherwise

"Yeah, no, I saw it go in the woods, too. But I swear, I'm a scratch!"

The seemingly gimme putt that you can't possibly miss until your opponent inquires you to finish it out

Seriously, why didn't that jack*** give it to you? It's only two feet! But I guess it does break slightly left. Or is that just the grain of the green? Come to think of it, it might go right towards the pond...

The first shot after the group in front of you waves you to play through

You desperately want to prove to them that you're worthy of their generous offer. Instead, you dribble one off the tee, feeling the group glancing at each other in skepticism and you move onward, head drooped in shame.

Any shot when the cart girl rolls up and you don't want to make a fool out of yourself

By the way, going forward, don't fret about this one, because a) odds are, she's looking at her cell phone anyway and b) no relationship story has ever started with, "Well, we met on a golf course after she saw me stick a 7-iron to three feet. From that point on, we were in love."

Phil Mickelson5.jpg

Getty Images

Hitting out of the heather

The guys at the British Open can do it. Why can't we?

Bunker shots from the fairway

Should you take a club higher, expecting to grab a bit of sand? Or do you go lower and try to catch it thin? Spoiler alert: it doesn't matter, because you're going to chunk it.

Bunker shots that are inside 100 yards to the pin but that are not greenside, either

A fried-egg bunker shot

Bunker shots in general

The shot after a (rhymes with blank)

It's like Beetlejuice. Say that word often enough, and it will manifest and you won't be able to get rid of it.

Anyway, there's nothing that quite cuts into your confidence more than hitting a lateral shot, then having to address your ball with that ugly vision in your head.

When your ball is in-between the fringe and rough

Some go with the putter, others a wedge, a few even take a utility wood. Whatever your tool of choice, you're going to be left with a longer-than-intended putt.

The shot over water

It could be a 200-yard carry or something you should be able to clear with a wedge. No matter the distance, that blue monster can be hell on the eyes and mind.

The tee shot when houses line the hole

By the way, is there anything more annoying then the "Management encourages you to hit an iron off this tee" sign? Homeowners: if you don't like the heat, don't sit next to the fire.

The punch-out

It's such a simple premise, yet, more often than not, your safe shot still manages to clip three tree branches, leaving you in a worse circumstance.

The flop shot

Phil Mickelson makes it look so easy, which is why its so jarring when your attempt scolds into the bunker across the green.

When your ball is against a tree and you have try an opposite-handed swing

For the sake of your clubs and psyche, just take a drop. Trust us, you'll be in better shape.

Driver off the deck

It has such a cool-sounding name. However, you have a better chance of seeing Augusta National award the Masters champ with a bedazzled jean jacket than a properly executed D.O.D.

The shot out of the divot

We're all about adhering to the rules here at Golf Digest. Nevertheless, it's bogus that you get penalized for hitting a good shot, right? Don't feel bad about using the ole' foot wedge to move this to better turf.

Double-breaking putt

It's hard enough to convert single-breaking putts, dammit.

Lag putt

God forbid if it's a double-breaking lag putt.

The lay-up

You already feel dejected for failing to go for it in two, which means this shot is done in a half-hearted fashion, leading to a tougher-than-envisioned third shot.

Any shot that involves an abbreviated swing

Or should we say, the mindset that a shot calls for an abbreviated swing. Because you can take five practice swings to make sure that branch won't affect your takeaway, but you better believe it's still going to be on your mind when you're over the ball.

The Happy Gilmore swing

We've all tried it. And all have ended up like this:

Playing from a different hole

Distant cousin of hitting after getting waved through. "Sorry guys, don't mind me...hey, at least I found the fairway, AMIRITE!?!?"

Putt with money on the line

Even Warren Buffett gets shaky in the knees over a three-footer in this scenario. Because it's about so much more than the cabbage, isn't it?

Yet, despite all these obstacles and the headaches they cause, if there's a better feeling than finding yourself in one of these predicaments and successfully getting out of said jams, we don't know it.