These are the 23 scariest shots in golf, according to golfers

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Every now and again we pose a question to the members of our How To Hit Every Shot instruction group, which is free to join right here. The question this week was a simple one: What’s the scariest shot in golf? Here’s what they came back with…

1. The first drive after a long wait

Hard to hit a good shot when you haven’t had the chance to re-warm up.

2. When the group ahead is letting you play through

Don’t hit a bad shot and make them regret their decision.

3. The next shot after a shank

Was the one shank a fluke, or is it about to torment your entire round?

4. Short-sided in a deep bunker

Open the face, hit and hope.

5. Downhill putt inside 10 feet

You should make it, technically, but this is about as difficult as an short putt can get.

6. Greenside bunker with water long

Like the bunker at the back of Augusta’s 12th hole, if you hit it in there and hit your next shot too hard, and you may be taking a drop on your next one.

7. Downhill lie in the bunker

Especially when you’ve short-sided yourself, there may be no tougher shot in golf. The key here is to align your shoulders with the slope.

8. Par-3 with water short

When in doubt, take an extra club.

9. Any forced carry

Now is the time to hit a good one…or else.

10. Any blind shot

Golf is hard enough as it is, let alone when you can’t see where you’re going.

11. The approach on 18 with people in the clubhouse watching

You’re about to put on a show. Hopefully it’s a good one.

12. The putt after hitting your birdie attempt a little too firm

A birdie opportunity just turned into a three-putt opportunity. 

13. Opening tee shot on a busy day

Deep breath and remember your tempo.

14. A punch shot through trees

If it works, you’ll be a hero. If it doesn’t, your round is over.

15. 60 yard wedge shot

Time to test how dialed-in your distance control is.

16. Approach to an elevated green

It plays longer, and it’s probably a blind shot, too.

17. Short-sided flop from the rough

Channel your inner Phil Mickelson.

18. Tee shot on a long par-3

It demands accuracy, which is hard when you’re pulling a long iron or fairway wood.

19. Tee shot with OB left and right

Hit it straight or game over.

20. The long bunker shot

The shot many golfers consider THE most difficult shot in golf, largely because it’s all about good contact. 

21. Short chip with the grain growing into you

It’s a prime opportunity for a duff, so plan accordingly.

22. Long approach over water

Time to step up and hit a good shot.

23. A putt to win

No matter how short, the must-make putt to win the match is the most nerve-wracking of them all.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Director of Game Improvement Content at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.