Ever hit that perfect draw off the tee, right down the middle of the fairway only to walk up and find your ball perfectly settled in an unfixed divot? Or what about when you snap hook one 50 yards left only to discover that your ball has found its resting place propped up on a nice dense patch of grass?
Your ball lands where your ball lands. Once it leaves your clubface you have absolutely no control over where it goes, just as you have absolutely no control over how it sits on the ground.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where you feel you caught a bad break, stop dwelling on it, examine your lie and follow the tips below to get yourself out of trouble.
If the ball is above your feet it’s going to hook. If it’s below your feet it’s going to slice. Depending on how severe the slope is, you’ll need to aim accordingly.
When the ball is above your feet it’s going to be closer to you so you have to choke up on the club in order to make solid contact. If you don’t, chances are you’ll hit it fat.
When the ball is below your feet, you’re farther away and since you can’t make your club any longer than it already is, you’ll need to move a couple inches closer so you don’t have to reach.
In both cases, take a firm stance and focus on making solid contact with the ball. Don’t lunge or pull back, it won’t work.
Tight Lies (Ball is on Hardpan)
Most amateurs hate tight lies but pros love them. The tighter the lie, the more spin you can put on the ball and while you may cringe at the sight of your ball laying on a patch of dirt, it’s not as bad as it looks.
With any solidly struck golf shot, the ball is hit before the ground and that’s what you need to focus on when hitting these shots. Don’t try to take a big divot, just try to clip the ball. If you hit it correctly, your ball will hit the green and stop on a dime.
Heavy Lies (Ball is Deep in the Rough)
The most important part of dealing with a ball deep in the rough is to first realize that simply advancing it may be the best option. In some instances the green may be out of play.
It is very difficult to make contact with balls that are in deep rough and even if you are skilled enough to get it in the air, the ball will hit any surface with little to no spin. In general, when your club goes through the rough on its way to the ball, the grass will grab the housel and close the face. As a result, most balls generally end up being pulled.
When you’re in this situation, move the ball back in your stance a little bit and try to get steeper on your downswing. Visualize the head of your club coming down right on the back of the ball and try to keep the face square through impact. By doing so you’ll prevent the clubhead from being turned over by the grass.
Ball is Buried in Bunker (Fried Egg)
When you have a fried egg in the bunker getting the ball on the putting surface should be the only thing on your mind. Don’t try to get cute, just dig it out.
With most bunker shots you want to put the ball up in your stance a little bit and open the face of your club but with buried lies you want to do just the opposite. Square the face of your club, put the ball in the middle of your stance and pick a spot about an inch behind the ball. Take your backswing and aim directly for that spot, accelerating all the way through your swing. If you do it right you’ll blast out a good deal of sand but your ball will get into the air and onto the green.
Regardless of where your ball comes to rest, examining your lie is extremely important. Pros even examine which direction the grass is laying and while most of us may not be good enough for that to make a difference, it’s still important to understand how the ground will affect the flight of your ball.