Trouble: Bad Lies
By Erika Larkin on 4/23/14
Typically, my recommendation for hitting a shot off a bad lie is this: "Bad lie, back in the stance."

Very simply, if your ball is sitting down in a hole or divot, on hard-pan, or if you have a tuft of grass behind or in front of your ball (you're in the tree line or on some pine straw), a back ball-position is pretty much a cure-all. We are always at the mercy of our lie, so my recommendation is going to get you out of the lie, out of trouble, and back into play with decent control. (It is not realistic to think we are going to hit a nice high soft shot out of a hole.)

To break it down a little further:
  1. Play the ball a few inches back of your normal position with that club. For example, a 4-iron that is usually played left-of-center should be played just right-of-center, not off the right foot. That would be too exaggerated.

    This adjustment is going to increase the shaft lean, which decreases club loft. Expect the ball to come out at a lower trajectory than normal. As a positive, you stand a good chance of making contact with the ball first from here, increasing your odds of a clean shot.

    Clean = control.

  2. Another important adjustment is to set your weight a little heavier on your lead leg. This will ensure that your center of gravity stays in front of the ball. We do not want to "help it out" of a bad lie with a scooping motion, or hanging back with our body; that just makes it worse.

  3. Allow your swing to work a little steeper than normal (more vertical backswing and downswing) — this will help you hit down on the ball and hit it out cleanly. A good idea is to hinge your wrists more dramatically on the backswing, to set up a steeper plane.

I hope these tips help you the next time you have a bad lie — which hopefully won't be too often!!

Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community, at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine — and she is oobgolf's newest columnist! She writes on a variety of topics — including instruction — so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, e-mail her at Enjoy!

[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
I find taking a stance close to the ball and then really giving it a good kick works wonders, especially if no one sees you doing it.
Dusty23 says:
"Very simply, if your ball is sitting down in a hole or divot, on hard-pan, or if you have a tuft of grass behind or in front of your ball" - You're describing my home course to a tee.
GBogey says:
Bkuehn reminds me, in a game of honor and honesty, why are there "good lies" and "bad lies?" Isn't lying always bad?
GBogey says:
Seriously good advice, almost always the thing to do. 2nd thing to do seems to always be open the club face.
slimpks1850 says:
My thoughts after reading the article & before reading the comments above were
1-stand a bit closer. bkeuhn1952 got started on that then got all humorous, lol. (do you count that foot wedge as a club?)
2-open the club face a bit. GBogey has already added that.
bkuehn1952 says:
@slimpks1850: I am a strong proponent of following the Rules. The Rules allow one to carry and have in one's bag a maximum of 14 clubs. Since I am technically wearing the shoes and they are not in my bag, I do not count my foot wedges (I have both a left and a right) against the 14 club limit.
[ post comment ]
    Cigar Lounge
Most Popular: