It may seem anti-intuitive, but directing the ball right at the water is the best way to avoid a hazard...
Executing a successful golf shot over a water hazard is a common complaint and a couple of suggestions come to mind.
One of them is to simply avoid playing any courses with water hazards (now called a 'penalty area' according to the official rule book).
If you are unable to do that, then I suggest you try hitting the ball "down into the water" rather than "up and over it."
Most golfers with this problem try to help the ball up and over the water by lifting. This is a natural reaction as in most round ball sports or games in order to get a ball "up and over" something we must lift it.
In golf the loft of the clubface does the lifting, any lifting on our part totally defeats this purpose. When facing something like a water hazard, where we want the ball to get up and over, we instinctively feel this need to lift and automatically do it. However, when we lift, we lift all of the club including the clubface and head, which then hits only the upper portion of the ball, resulting in a topped shot. Consequently, a topped shot goes downward and directly into the water.
Something akin to the Bermuda Triangle, Augusta's infamous Amen Corner comprises
one of golfing's most infamous water hazards, Rae's Creek.
The opposite of lifting is to feel like you are hitting the ball downwards and into the water. When you do this, you actually drive the clubhead down under the ball and the lofted club face lifts the ball up and over the water.
So, on your next round, try to hit the ball directly into the water. Once you successfully do this, you will know it works, and your fear of water hazards will stop.
Sincerely, a friend to any golfer... Pat Dolan Golf Pro
About the Author...
Pat Dolan, Golf Professional, specialized in teaching for over 42 years. The late Pat Dolan taught golf at such prestigious golf courses as "The Colonial Country Club" in Fort Worth, Texas, "The Country Club" in Salt Lake City, Utah and "The Palm Springs Country Club" in the world famous
golfing resort of Palm Springs, California.