Escape The Trees Using This 6 Step Method


The PGA Tour is traveling all the way up to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. The course may be on the shorter side, for Tour standards, but it houses an abundance of trees.

There’s nothing more frustrating in golf than walking into the woods after an errant swing. You’ll often hear the dense forest surrounding the course’s layout referred to as “jail”, because you feel handcuffed and nothing good can happen there.

To get out of “jail” it’s important to understand where you are and what you have in front of you. Allow yourself to follow these six steps when staring at lots of lumber:

1. Assess Your Lie

What types of shots can you play? Is it clean? Root problems?

2. Assess Yor Swing

How much room do you have? How much of a backswing/follow through can you make?

3. Find Your Windows

Look at your target and all the way back to the ball left and right. How many safe openings do you have?

4. Trajectory & Club Selection

How low or high will you have to keep the ball and find a distance that coordinates with the shot selection.

5. Play The Percentages

Find the safest play to ensure a safe exit. Sometimes it’s at the flag, sometimes it’s sideways – don’t be a hero.

6. Execute

Go through your routing and play the shot just like you planned, whether its 200 yards to the flag or 5 feet backwards.

When faced with the task of escape, keep in mind you’re not Harry Houdini. The most important part of the process is getting out of “jail” so the next shot is playable, not showmanship.

If you need more help with your game reach out to our PGA Professionals and receive instant feedback!


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Michael Loftin

Michael Loftin has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2007, and holds a PGA Certifications in Golf Operations. He has competed as an NCAA Division I golfer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a Masters in Business Administration. He has a deep understanding of private golf facilities, where he provided extensive instruction, tournament operations, club fittings, and on course strategy. Michael’s instructional philosophy is not only teaching the students how to swing, but teaching students how to play.