So many golf clubs have carts available and they need an easy way around the golf course. This means there are cart paths all around the course and as you are using them to get from hole to hole and tee to green, many of them are close to the fairway.
One bad shot off the tee can see your ball end up on the cart path.
The natural reaction for many beginners is to pick the ball up and make a drop, ensuring the ball finishes no closer to the hole. In most cases, there is nothing wrong with that and if you have a good lie available to drop the ball then great.
However, you are not always guaranteed a good lie and if the surface on which you are dropping the ball looks unpredictable, you may be better off playing the shot off the cart path.
If you are on a cart path the ball is not buried in any way and you are likely to have a flat stance.
The fear of playing this shot is hitting the path first and this cannot only cause damage to the club but also to yourself. If you want a guarantee of no damage to your club, do not play the shot.
So, if you can drop the ball into a decent lie and you are not playing in a tournament, this is the recommended option.
If you are playing in a tournament and don’t want to add a shot to your score by taking a drop or the drop area is not looking good, you can take on the shot from the cart path.
To do this, don’t make the same mistake as many people and pull out the sand wedge. Choose a different wedge which has less bounce and if you are further away than wedge distance you can use an iron of your choice.
Do not open the club face when playing a shot from the cart path as you don’t want the back edge of the club hitting the ground first. This will see the club bounce off the path and you will blade the shot.
In terms of your stance for this shot, you may want to play the ball a little further back from middle. This will help to ensure you hit the ball first but don’t go too far back or this will cause other problems.
Distribute more of your weight on your front foot and choke up on the club. Doing this will help to keep your hands ahead of the club face and prevent you from hitting behind or topping the golf ball.
Finally, always commit 100% to the shot. If you have any doubts in your mind about playing a shot off the cart path, it is best to pull away and make a drop. However, tell yourself it is just like any other golf shot and you must hit down, accelerate and follow through.
Finding your ball on a cart path may be a rare occasion but if a drop is not available when you do, at least you have the technique and knowhow to play the shot from where it lies.