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Avoiding The “Blow-Up” Hole In Golf (Best Tips & Tricks)

It’s happened to the best of us. You’re playing a solid round of golf, and then you start getting ahead of yourself. You start thinking about your score, maybe you are on pace to break your single round record. But then, out of no where, you encounter the nightmare “blow-up” hole. Is there anything more annoying then playing a good quality round of golf, just to have your score ruined by one bad hole? Luckily there are easy tips and tricks to eliminate the “blow-up” hole from your golf game. But what is a blow-up hole?

A “blow-up” hole is a common catch phrase in golf used to describe a bad hole. Typically, it occurs in the middle to the end of a round and is a catalyst for bad scores on the golf course.

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What Makes A Bad Hole In Golf A “Blow-Up” Hole?

Its so easy to ruin a good round of golf. With one shot you can go from having the round of your life, to being on the path of playing a personal worst. The ones that have experienced this first hand like to call this the “blow-up” hole. Another term for it could be a golfers worst nightmare.

Going into every hole, you need to have a pre-hole process that helps you focus on what is in front of you. Thinking about a previous bad hole, or bad shots, doesn’t do you any good. This is how blow-up holes start, not focusing on the task in front of you.

A blow-up hole in golf is one that ruins your scorecard, and it could come from many different factors. What makes a blow-up hole is compounding mistakes on top of each other. Instead of hitting a poor shot and moving on, the mistakes waterfall after that. Having one bad hole isn’t what creates the blow-up, it’s letting a couple of bad shots ruin the rest of your round. Blow-up holes come strictly from mental mistakes.

The only positive about the blow-up hole in golf, is that we can avoid it. However, we can implement tips and tricks into our golf game to help us maneuver the blow-up hole.

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10 Tips to Avoid The “Blow-Up” Hole

#1 – Tee Box Study

The first mistake golfers make that lead to a blow-up is not studying the hole they are about to play. The biggest recipe for disaster is pulling up to a tee box, grabbing your driver, teeing your ball up and hitting it with no thought.

Before every hole you should plan the shots you want to hit, depending on the hole layout or hazards in front of you. Always go into every hole with a plan. Starting every hole with a plan will lead to less blow-ups because you’ve mentally prepared for what you are going to do.

#2 – Find The Danger Zones

This goes hand in hand with tip number one. When you are studying the hole you are about to play, you must identify where the danger zones are. Not identifying danger zones before hitting your tee shot can immediately have you playing the hole from behind. Nobody ever plans on hitting a bad shot, the best golfers plan for it to happen anyways.

Danger zones could be the shape of the hole layout, whether it be a dogleg left or right. Other dangers could be bunkers along the fairway, water hazards, or strategically placed trees.

Golf is hard enough as it is, so take an extra minute to find every danger zone that is waiting patiently to ruin your score.

#3 – Pick The Correct Club

This is a straightforward one, but one that is often forgotten. At this point if you’ve prepped for your hole correctly, you should have studied the hole and identified where the danger zones are. The mistake golfers make is just because it’s a par 4 or par 5, they automatically grab their driver for the tee shot. This not always the correct approach.

If a driver puts you around a danger zone, but a 4 iron leaves you short of it and safe, take the iron shot. It might leave you with a longer approach shot into the green, but that is always better then being in danger.

If you have identified a danger zone bunker in the fairway that sits right at your driver distance, don’t hit your driver. Hit a club off the tee that regardless of how far you hit the shot, you avoid the danger zones and are safe.

#4 – Let The Lie Dictate Your Next Shot

After your tee shot, once you get to your ball the first thing you need to do is evaluate what kind of lie you have. If you are in the fairway then perfect, you can hit your next shot however you want. If you are in the rough however, you must identify what kind of lie you have. The lie will dictate how you approach your next shot.

If the ball is sitting up on the grass, that will help you get loft on your shot naturally. This means you don’t need to worry as much about getting the ball up, but more getting the ball to the green. If the ball is plugged in the grass, this will change how you approach the shot completely. A buried ball means you will not be able to get much loft on the shot, so taking a shorter club with higher loft is the play here. Likely this means you aren’t making it to the green, but making better contact is more important at this stage.

Always evaluate your lie before hitting a golf shot. It’s not as simple as walking up, reading your distance, and hitting the ball. A lot of small factors can effect your shot, and not identifying them will result in the blow-up hole approaching.

#5 – Laying Up Is Sometimes Best

We’ve all been here before. We have a shot in front of us that we’ve hit once before, or think in our minds we can hit the shot again. Whether that be a distance that you really can’t hit, a certain shot shape that you don’t practice, or clearing intimidating hazards. In situations like this, laying up is not a bad thing. Sure, the group you are playing with might tease you for not going for it. But, when their balls are in hazards or poor lies, you’ll be laughing while you sit pretty in the fairway.

At the end of the day, taking the higher percentage shot will lead to less opportunities of the blow-up hole finding you.

#6 – Bogey’s Won’t Kill You; Doubles and Triples Will

This tip is a part B to laying up is not always a bad thing. When we play golf, we all want to shoot par’s, birdies even. However, like we have mentioned already, golf is a tough game. You are going to have holes that don’t go your way.

The biggest mistake on the golf course is compounding ,multiple mistakes on top of each other. If you hit a bad shot, take your medicine, and play the hole safe. Don’t try and make the shot up when its unrealistic. Doing that will lead to double and triple bogey’s.

Double and triples ruin your score, bogey’s you can bounce back from. Put the ball back in play, take your bogey medicine, and move on.

#7 – Take A Breathe

Hitting a bad shot is always frustrating, but playing golf frustrated is not how you succeed. The worst thing you can do after a bad shot is get frustrated, try to hit your next shot too hard, and compound mistakes.

In the event you hit a bad shot, and throughout a round you will hit plenty, take a breathe. Relax, forget about the bad shot, and focus on the shot you have in front of you.

#8 – Pace Of Play

When I say pace of play in this instance, what I am referring to is your own personal pace of play. What golfers tend to do when they are having a bad hole, or hit a bad shot, is they start rushing. They want to get it over with as quickly as possible. This can lead to continuous errors, and when you are rushing, you are not playing within your game. Rushing and playing too quickly is a very common element to having the blow-up hole.

Take your time, think about what went wrong in the last shot, take a breathe, put it behind you and focus on your next shot.

#9 – Block Out The Noise

When you play with a group, it’s easy to get persuaded by someone else’s voice or opinion. Always remember that regardless of who you are playing with and their skill level, they are not you.

Play your golf game, and trust yourself. Hit the shots you know you can hit, and play golf how you know you can play it. Don’t try something just because someone else told you to.

#10 – Bouncing Back

It’s easy to say you aren’t going to let mistakes get the better of you on the golf course. That you are going to have an error free round. But anyone that plays golf knows that’s not true. We can talk about ways to prevent the blow-up hole, but the odds of playing an entire round without one is nearly impossible.

Throughout a round, you are going to hit bad shots. You are going to have bad holes that leave you frustrated. A single blow-up hole isn’t the dagger to your round, it’s the multiple bad holes after the blow-up that kill you.

Don’t let one bad hole, or a couple of bad shots, ruin what you are working hard for. Go to the next hole, forget about what happened, stay calm, and restart your pre-hole process.


Hopefully you can take these tips with you onto the golf course for your next round. Golf is a difficult game that we all love, so let’s make it easier on ourselves by putting us in the best situation to succeed.

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