How to swing with your ball against a tree: 5 steps for escaping a dead lie

Picture this — you hit your drive through the fairway near the base of a tree. You can see the ball is near the trunk, but as you walk up to it, you hope and pray that you’ll have enough room to make a full swing to guide the ball back to safety.

When you arrive and try to make a practice swing, your heart sinks. A full swing is out the of the question, and you’re officially in damage-control mode. For players with less gusto, this would be a death sentence. But not you. Thanks to watching this week’s episode of How to Hit Every Shot, you know how to execute this shot with ease.

Check out the video above or read below for five tips from GOLF Top 100 Teacher Lou Guzzi on hitting a ball stuck against a tree.

1. Find swing space

You might not have room to make a full swing aiming directly at your target, but if you adjust your aim a bit, you should be able to remedy this. Turn your body to the right until the tree trunk in your backswing is no longer an issue. You might even have to turn so far that the green is over your shoulder.

2. High-lofted club

Because you’re aimed too far to the right, you’ll have to make some compensations. One of these adjustments is using a higher-lofted club than your normally would. In this case, a lob wedge or sand wedge should suffice.

3. Closed clubface

To hit the ball toward the green, you also need to shut the clubface dramatically. With your high-lofted wedge, get setup up well to the right and shut the clubface so it’s facing more toward your target.

4. Swing with aim line

When you make your swing, let the clubhead travel down your aim line and toward the green. This will likely be well to the left of your typical clubhead release and make the ball shoot out toward the target.

5. Watch the magic

If you do all the steps above properly, you’ll be in perfect position to escape the trouble. Make your swing and watch the magic as your ball bounces onto the green.

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Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.