When the ball is hit into the woods, the first objective should be to get out without further penalty. If there is a wide opening to the green without low hanging branches, a player can fire for the green just as any other shot. However, this is a rare situation; usually the golfer should seek a good opening which permits an easy recovery with maximum advance towards the green. Occasionally this will mean striking the ball perpendicular to the line to the green or even away from the green.
Often a very small tree some distance from the ball may have a wide opening on either side. Most golfers can take aim at the trunk of the tree and fire away. Rarely will a shot be struck exactly on the intended target line of flight. This trick allows the player to use two possible openings simultaneously.
The ground in the woods is usually rough, so take that into consideration. A first concern should be leaves and twigs around the ball. If present, they can cause loss of control so move them very carefully. If the ball moves at all it's a penalty stroke as most of you reading this are aware. Another hazard is tree roots, not only those seen but also unseen right below the surface. Rocks can also be a concern and should be treated with respect.
Remember, declaring an unplayable lie and taking a stroke penalty is less costly than trying an impossible shot, damaged club, or worse, risk of personal injury.
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