How To Handle Tight Lies With Your Wedges
One of the most challenging golf shots for many amateur players is the wedge from a tight lie. There you are, the fairway is cut close, or you have a tight lie in firm turf in a packed down area.

What do you do ?

Well, actually, the tighter lie allows you to hit much more crisp and controlled shots, once you overcome your fear, so let’s get to doing just that.

Realize that the tour players hit those marvelous shots they do because they play very close cut fairways, so they have a reasonably tight lie all the time. The reality is that the ball flight is much more predictable from a tighter lie than one sitting up. When the ball is not perched, you can “pinch” it into the turf with precision and consistency, but there are a couple of tricks to making proper contact.  Practice this and you will learn to love those tight lies.

First, crisp contact, ball first, is a must everywhere, but particularly when the ball is sitting tight. To ensure that happens for you, just move the ball a slight bit further back in your stance, and here’s how I like to ensure that.

From the moment you begin to address the ball, focus your eyes on its forward edge – the side toward the target. Set up so that forward edge is in the correct position in relation to your feet.  And throughout your set up and swing, stay focused on that forward edge – it will practically ensure you strike the ball before the turf.

Secondly, a ball sitting down will come off the club hotter and lower than from a fluffy lie, or one more perched. You do not have to swing as hard to get the ball to go your desired distance.

Third, this shot will have more spin, so it will hold the green better than from a more perched up lie.

And finally, realize you do not have to help the ball into the air. It's physically impossible to hit “up” on a golf ball, because the ball is sitting on the ground !

Trust the loft of the club and think only about getting your hands and the grip of the club through the ball before the clubhead. The rest will take care of itself.

So, that’s how you handle tight lies.  Let me know how this works for you.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
Mike says:
Hey Terry,

I've been using that front edge of the ball focus for a while now and it's really improved my contact and helped me with controlling my distances.

Even if I hit it thin every now and then, a thin shot is infinitely more playable than a fat, chunky wedge. Most of the time anyway ;-)
Cash says:
Great post - one thing to add, and that has to do with the bounce on your wedges. Various schools of thought on whether to play consistent bounce across your wedges, or to have a high bounce SW and a low bounce LW. My thoughts - trial and error to learn what works best for you swing and attack angle.
Tim Horan says:
I am finding the new wedges very easy to play from tight lies. The V sole really nips the ball off the surface and as Mike says above focussing on the front edge really does help. I have also found that hovvering the club at address much as you would your driver assists with nipping the ball off wet or sodden ground. It also gives you a cleaner take away. One word of warning here though, it can make you go shallow on the back swing and attention needs to be given to the first 9 inches of the take away even emphasizing a swing path out side the line until you get grooved.
Steve Wozeniak PGA says:
Terry, hope you and your family made it through IKE and did not have to many things damaged, let us know, Steve..........
bloggerbeck says:
Great post and thanks for the tip. I too hope you and yours made it through IKE safely
wedgeguy says:
Thanks for the thoughts, guys. We were in the crosshairs early in the week, and spent Wednesday boarding up and preparing to head north, but then Ike took a hike east and hammered Houston. It's worse than the news pics can show. Galveston is all but destroyed.

As for your comment, Cash, that exact scenario is what led us to develop the patented V-SOLE here at EIDOLON. It works equally well from any lie you encounter, and no other conventional wedge can do that.
blue_crush says:
2 other things will help some for tight lies too...
play it like a sand shot w/low hands, firm grip and open the club up, and I do play it back in my stance. look at the back of the ball and make solid contact. never let your eyes leave that spot till your arms bring up your head. you will find that you can even pick it off hardpan with no trouble at all. the firm grip limits the wrist getting in the way and hitting it thin by trying to scoop it...
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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