At one time or another, every golfer becomes what Bobby Jones described as “a dogged victim of inexorable fate.” But certain moments leave us more victimized than others. In that uplifting spirit, we give you this list. It’s our ranking of the 13 most demoralizing shots in the game.
1. The Hero-to-Zero Fairway Wood
It’s a reachable par-five, in theory, anyway, so you wait … and wait … for the green to clear, peeving off the group behind you while putting added pressure on yourself. Sure enough, you top it roughly eight feet ahead of you, the only good news being that the green is also reachable from there.
2. The De-Greener
Did you just putt it off the green? Don’t feel bad. Tiger Woods once did the same thing in the Masters. All that’s left for you to do is win 14 majors, and you and he will practically be twins.
3. The New York Super Fudge Chunk
On the one hand, the world’s best players also take divots with their irons. On the other, their divots don’t fly farther than the ball.
4. The Hosel Rocket
Call it what you will. The shank. The foozle. By any name, it’s a word you’d rather not speak aloud, and an experience you now fear you are doomed to repeat.
Even Tiger Woods (shown here at the 2010 Ryder Cup) is not immune to an occasional hosel rocket.
5. The Bold Effort
In a moment as rare as the Comet Kahoutek, you’ve got 15 feet for eagle, but you leave it 5 feet short. Not to worry. You’ll get another chance the next time the comet comes around.
6. The Lawrence of Arabia Short Game Clinic
Weight forward. Club face open. Feet left of the target. You tried to play the shot like Gary Player. Too bad it caught the bunker lip and rolled back in a footprint. Peter O’Toole had more fun in the sand.
7. The Harrison Ford
When you blade a simple chip, it becomes a runner. Blade. Runner. Get it? It’s funny when it happens to someone else.
8. The Egregious Mis-Club
Look at you posing after flushing your approach shot, hands high, tummy pointing toward the target, your eyes tracking the ball in its majestic flight as it beelines for the flagstick, only to land beyond it. In a pond behind the green.
9. The Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Been A Gimme Putt
It should have been conceded, but it wasn’t. Silently disgruntled, simmering with resentment, you step up to tap it in and … doph! … It wasn’t a gimme, after all.
10. Here, Topper! Come here, boy!
They say that golf is like life, and it really is. Every round, like every day, begins with renewed hope. Until you top one off the first tee.
11. The Flopped Shot
Phil Mickelson makes those high, feathery shots look so easy. But big deal. That thing that you just did, passing your wedge directly under the ball without budging it an inch, that’s pretty tough to pull off, too.
12. The Player B Water Ball
Having just dunked an old, scruffy ball into the water, you pull out a brand new ProV1 and … do exactly the same thing.
13. The Not-So Great Escape
Trees are 90 percent air. Which makes it all the more impressive that you just hit the other 10 percent, dead center off the trunk, a ricochet that whizzes past your ear and leaves you even deeper in the woods.
There is much to be done and enjoyed in the August garden. Butterflies abound, while the magenta, burgundy and orange hues of late-summer bloomers foreshadow fall colors. Give your containers and summer edibles some love by keeping them appropriately watered and fed. Deadhead spent summer flowers for repeat blooms — or let them set seed to provide food and habitat for wildlife through the coming months. As you go, take stock of what you see in the yard, preparing for fall planting. Here’s what to do in U.S. gardens in August.
Timothy Lee landscape design
Northwest. "Keep on deadheading roses, Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum), dahlias and other summer-flowering plants," writes landscape designer Genevieve Schmidt. "By removing spent flowers, you encourage the plant to continue setting new buds and put energy into blooms for the rest of the summer."
California. “Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, once an area of windswept sand dunes, is now a showcase of plants from all over the world,” writes garden editor Bill Marken. “Few are more eye catching than nodding pincushion, one of many proteas from South Africa. Proteas are notoriously difficult to grow, which explains their high cost as cut blooms. They are worth a try if you can provide what they need: perfectly drained soil and the perfect climate — coastal, not too hot.
Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting
Southwest. “Are your container plants looking tired? To look their best, plants need to be fertilized when grown in containers,” writes Arizona horticulturalist Noelle Johnson. “Use a slow-release all-purpose fertilizer, which lasts about three months, or apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. You will be rewarded with bigger plants and more blooms.
Mountains. "The high heat of August is not the time to divide or move plants, but it’s a great time for planning ahead for an active September and beyond," says Colorado landscape designer Jocelyn Chilvers. "Look at your garden with a critical eye as you plan your shopping and work lists for the cooler days to come."
Land Design, Inc.
Texas. “Light, frequent waterings will simply encourage shallow roots, which will not serve your plants well in times of heat and dry weather. It’s preferable to water more deeply but less often, encouraging your plants’ roots to dig down deep into the soil,” writes landscape designer Jenny Peterson. “Avoid watering directly onto the foliage of your plants, and water earlier in the morning or later in the day to avoid rapid evaporation,” she advises. “Better yet, install drip irrigation or soaker hoses to direct water closer to the plants’ roots.
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Central Plains. “This is prime butterfly season. You can deadhead flowers and hope for a second, smaller flush, or leave them up for winter interest,” writes Nebraska garden consultant Benjamin Vogt. “Most birds will eat the seeds in fall, so you have to decide if deadheading is worth the gamble. Usually it’s best to leave up coneflowers and other mid- to later-summer bloomers, while early summer blooms might be a good bet to cut back. Here a tiger swallowtail is enjoying a pit stop.
Great Lakes. "August marks the transition from summer to autumnal blooms, starting with the tall sedums, including Hylotelephium 'Purple Emperor'," writes Illinois garden coach Barbara Pintozzi. "Growing it in front of chartreuse foliage makes it a garden standout."
Northeast. "Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp) is blooming along roadsides and in meadows," writes Vermont landscape consultant Charlotte Albers. "This native wildflower is widely adaptable and grows well in poor soils, so it's a good choice for a rain garden or swale, or to put in an area where water pools when rains are heavy.""The species is a bit intimidating — just too tall for most gardens, but there are shorter versions. This is 'Phantom' (Dupatorium x 'Phantom,' zones 4 to 8), a dwarf that grows about 40 inches tall and attracts honeybees and butterflies."
Mid-Atlantic. “While the temperatures are scorching now, cool weather will be here in a couple months, so now is the time to start seeding cool-season plants,” says garden writer Amy Renea. “I love planting a second run of greens like chard (pictured), spinach and a variety of lettuces. Wait for a summer rainstorm and get out there and seed!
Gardening with Confidence®
Southeast. “Select and preorder your spring-blooming bulbs now while supplies are plentiful,” writes North Carolina garden writer Helen Yoest. “Don’t put off today what will be gone tomorrow. The most unusual bulbs sell out fast. I can say this now because I’ve already put in my order. Try something fun such as the species tulip Tulipa clusiana.”