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Best How to Evaluate a Lie in Golf

How to play from a bad lie in Golf

Golf is a tough sport that will get one of the best of our feelings every now and then.

Generally we are able to hit an awesome tee ball down the center of the golf green, solely to finish up in a foul lie in a sandy divot. Or, typically we are able to hit an terrible drive solely to search out it in an ideal lie even when it’s off the overwhelmed path.

However that’s simply how golf works, and it’s a must to roll with the punches. As Bobby Jones mentioned, “You get dangerous breaks from good photographs; you get good breaks from dangerous photographs – however it’s a must to play the ball because it lies.”

One factor that plenty of golfers battle with is knowing the various kinds of lies and the best way to play them appropriately. The higher you will get at understanding the lie and the best way to play it, the higher scores you’ll put up.

On this article, we’ll break down the best way to learn a lie and what sort of changes it’s essential to make for any situation.

Evaluating a Lie in Golf

So, first off, what’s the lie of a golf ball?

The lie is just how the ball the resting within the grass, sand, or different locations the ball may find yourself. This is without doubt one of the first issues {that a} golfer ought to test after they discover their ball from the tee or fairway.

Let’s break down plenty of the lies that you’ll encounter on a given spherical of golf.

Lie within the Fairway

First up is the brief grass aka the golf green.

Do you know that PGA Tour gamers solely hit about half of all fairways?

In 2021, the PGA Tour driving accuracy common was 60.69%. Arduous to consider, proper?

So when you discover your ball within the fairway, nice job as a result of one of the best guys on the planet solely hit just a little greater than half. You solely normally get 14 probabilities to search out the golf green every spherical and anytime your ball results in the brief grass, issues are a lot simpler.

When your ball is within the fairway, you don’t have to fret concerning the ball leaping, having to battle thick tough, or anything. As an alternative, you simply have to assess the slope as a part of your pre-shot routine.

But it surely’s not at all times straightforward, typically there’s a slope as effectively. Listed here are the commonest lies that you will discover within the fairway.


When you stroll as much as your ball and discover it on the up slope, don’t play it like a flat lie. The slope will make the ball launch greater, which ought to make it journey much less (particularly when you’re hitting into the wind).

You need to normally membership up at the very least one to account for the upper trajectory. With this lie, transfer the ball barely up in your stance and modify your shoulders with the slope to make strong contact.


The other is true with a downhill lie within the fairway. From this lie, the ball could have a decrease trajectory and never have as a lot backspin, so play extra roll out.

You additionally need to membership down because the slope will deloft the membership at influence. With this lie, transfer the ball barely again in your stance and modify your shoulders with the slope.

Click on right here to be taught extra about uphill and downhill lies right here.

Aspect Hill Fairway Lie

Assessing a aspect hill lie is at all times tough too, because the golf ball might be above or under your ft.

If the ball is under your ft, it is going to normally end in a lower shot, so goal left of your supposed goal. Additionally, maintain your knees bent as effectively to accommodate the slope and keep balanced.

If the ball is above your ft, it is going to normally end in a draw shot, so goal proper of your goal. You additionally need to choke up on the membership, because the lie will make you will have extra of an round, baseball swing.

The extra the slope in both course, the extra it is going to curve so goal accordingly!

Ball in a Divot

Generally an awesome drive results in a divot in the midst of the golf green. Whereas it’s solely pure to get just a little pissed off, it’s essential to shake it off and play it accordingly.

In case your ball results in a divot within the fairway, maintain it easy and play it like a fairway bunker shot.

Mud Balls

One other lie that no golfer likes to see is when the ball has mud on it. This normally occurs through the winter months, when the bottom is moist and muddy.

If you end up with a mud ball lie, right here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Mud does have an effect on the ball course. In case you have mud on the correct aspect of the ball, it is going to really trigger it to go left (and vice versa on the left aspect).
  • The longer the shot, the extra the mud will have an effect on it. For instance, when you hit a hybrid, the ball will are likely to get offline rather more than when you hit a pitching wedge. In case you have plenty of mud in your ball, typically it’s finest to hit a punch shot to get the mud off and never attempt to hit an excessive amount of membership otherwise you might need a giant miss.

Completely different Lies in Tough

Now that you understand how to guage and play a lie from the brief stuff, let’s discuss some widespread conditions within the tough. The higher you may consider your lie within the tough, the higher restoration photographs you may hit once you miss the golf green.

Flyer Lie

The primary lie that you simply may encounter within the tough is a flyer lie. That is when the ball is sitting up completely, nearly prefer it’s on a pillow.

Whereas that is normally higher than ending up within the deep tough, it’s essential to consider and play the lie accordingly. First, make sure that it’s sitting up by putting the membership across the ball. Normally, you may inform if there may be grass beneath the golf ball.

When you do have a flyer lie, membership down!

Balls which are sitting up within the tough are likely to take off or “leap” and journey for much longer than regular. If there may be any tailwind, you may need to membership down a full two golf equipment, however normally at the very least one with a flyer lie. It additionally received’t spin almost as a lot as regular.

Buried Lie within the Tough

One other state of affairs that’s fairly widespread within the tough is when the ball buries within the thick stuff. It relies on the kind of grass, however some grass is thought for the ball settling deep.

If this occurs, it’s necessary to evaluate the lie after which take the correct membership. Too many golfers attempt to hit longer irons, hybrids, or woods when the lie received’t permit it.

When you assess the lie and see it’s clearly sitting down, the primary precedence is to get it out and again in play. Use a membership with extra loft, play the ball within the middle-back of your stance, and chop it again to security.

Unplayable Lie

If the ball is so dangerous and you’ll’t play it (however have discovered it), you at all times have the choice to take an unplayable lie. Below Rule 19, a participant might take an unplayable ball reduction anyplace on the course besides in a penalty space. When you’re in a penalty space, it’s essential to take penalty reduction below rule 17.

Nevertheless, in case your ball isn’t in a penalty space, you will have the choice to take an unplayable lie. When you select this selection, it’s essential to take a one shot penalty and drop in one in every of a number of methods.

In line with the USGA, you will have just a few totally different choices:

  1. “The participant might play the unique ball or one other ball from the place the earlier stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).
  2. The participant might drop the unique ball or one other ball (see Rule 14.3) in a reduction space that’s primarily based on a reference line going straight again from the outlet by way of the spot of the unique ball. You’ll be able to go way back to you need on the road with the flag.
  3. The participant might drop the unique ball or one other ball on this lateral reduction space (see Rule 14.3).”

It’s necessary to notice that it’s essential to discover your golf ball to take an unplayable lie. In any other case, it’s a must to replay your final shot by going again to the earlier hitting location.

Plugged Lie (Embedded Ball)

One other state of affairs you may encounter on the golf course is when your ball plugs. That is when your ball finds moist floor and truly goes partly into the earth, generally known as an embedded ball. This normally occurs throughout winter, moist circumstances and might occur within the fairway, tough, or different areas of the golf course.

As you’ll learn in a second, if this occurs within the sand, it’s a must to do your finest to play the shot. But when the ball plugs anyplace however the sand, then you definitely do get free reduction.

In line with the USGA, ​ “Rule 16.3 permits reduction for a ball embedded anyplace within the “basic space” (that’s, the world beforehand generally known as “by way of the inexperienced”), besides when embedded in sand. In taking reduction, the participant drops the unique ball or a substituted ball inside one club-length of (however not nearer the outlet than) the spot proper behind the place the ball was embedded.”

Whereas the embedded ball rule has at all times existed, it’s been up to date to learn “by way of the inexperienced.” Which means, you will get reduction from an embedded ball in additional locations than simply the golf green or tough (anyplace besides sand).

When you assume your ball is embedded, you at all times have the choice to insert a tee the place the ball ended up and test. Whether it is plugged into the bottom, then you may take reduction. And if not and it’s only a moist lie, it’s a must to play it as regular.

Ball within the Water?

Sure, it’s potential to play a ball that’s partially submerged in water. In case you have this case, learn our full article on enjoying a ball out of water.

Lie within the Sand

Now that we’ve lined the sorts of widespread lies within the grass, let’s not neglect concerning the sand both. There are 5 widespread lies that you’ll encounter within the bunkers.

Ball Sitting Up in Sand

The primary lie is when the ball is sitting up effectively. This occurs when the ball hits after which rolls round within the bunker, leaving you with an excellent lie. Once you discover your ball on this state of affairs, you may play a standard greenside bunker shot.

The one factor that it’s essential to assess within the lie is the slope.

In case your ball is sitting on the up slope, it’s essential to modify your shoulder angle, so the membership doesn’t dig. By aligning your shoulders with the slope, you may swing with the slope and the ball ought to come out greater and land very delicate.

If the ball is on a downhill slope, it is a barely harder shot than an uphill lie. With this lie, it’s essential to play it barely extra within the center and modify your shoulders as effectively. The ball will come out decrease, so just be sure you use your wedge with essentially the most loft, too.

Moist Sand

When you stroll right into a bunker and notice the sand is moist, it’s a reasonably easy shot. Because it’s moist and heavier than regular, be sure to modify by not opening the membership a lot. Then, swing it with just a little extra effort to raise the ball and sand out of the bunker.

Arduous Sand

When you stroll right into a bunker and really feel the sand being agency, then you will have agency sand. Clearly, you may’t check the sand along with your membership till you hit the shot, so that you’ll have to go from really feel along with your ft.

When you do have agency sand, don’t take a giant backswing and as an alternative, play it extra like a pitch shot.

How to Play a Fried Egg Bunker Shot

Fried Egg within the Sand

One other lie that isn’t as widespread however does occur sometimes is called the “fried egg.” The rationale it’s referred to as that’s as a result of the ball is partially buried as a consequence of moist or delicate sand. This lie will hardly ever occur with agency, onerous sand, as it is going to hit and roll out.

The fried egg is a troublesome shot to hit in comparison with a standard shot as a result of you may’t get a lot spin on it. Plus, plenty of golfers use regular kind as an alternative of constructing the mandatory changes, which makes issues a lot tougher.

When you do discover that your ball has a fried egg lie, here’s what it’s essential to do.

  • Setup as regular with a large stance, an excellent bend in your knees, and arrange sq. to the goal. You should use your regular membership (whether or not it’s a sand or lob wedge).
  • Subsequent, sq. the membership face as an alternative of opening it. This may make it simpler to hit down on the shot as an alternative of attempting to have a standard, excessive observe by way of.
  • As an alternative, you need to hit down on the shot however depart the membership within the sand.

This could end in a ball that pops proper out of the bunker. Just like a buried lie, anticipate the ball to come back out with ahead spin, so play accordingly. When you don’t have a lot room from you to the pin, attempt to land it within the tough to kill a few of its velocity and spin.

Buried Lie (Plugged Lie)

When you go in to guage your lie and see it’s buried, then it’s a must to make some changes from a standard bunker shot. Play it like a fried egg and chop down on it to get it out of the bunker. Don’t attempt to make a giant excessive observe by way of, because the lie received’t permit it.

Last Ideas

As you may inform, there are a ton of locations the place your ball can find yourself on the golf course. However that’s half the enjoyable of enjoying this loopy sport and why golf is so thrilling.

When you change into a grasp at assessing your lie and evaluating how the ball will change, every little thing will get simpler. However earlier than you go pulling a membership and attempt to hit it like a standard shot, at all times test your lie.

It’s a good suggestion to get into the shot such as you’re about to play it to see the slope, grass, and every little thing else. Then, take into consideration how the ball’s trajectory will change, seize your membership, and make any obligatory changes at setup.

Lastly, don’t neglect to belief your lie analysis and supposed shot!