Handling Tight Lies And Soft Conditions

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Tight Lies

Many people struggle with hitting a golf ball well if it’s not in a perfect lie. This wonderful game, however, is not played from a perfect lie every time. A couple of imperfect lies that many golfers struggle with is facing tight lies or very soft conditions. Both are difficult to play from without practice or experience. The hardest thing about playing from either position is that there is little margin for error. If not hit well, the consequences could be disastrous. Let’s look at the definition of each lie first and then look at how you can get better at each situation.

Tight Lies

Tight Lies

Tight lies are positions where only a little to no grass is under the ball. For example, the grass is cut short, or the ground is hard under the ball. Finding these positions in a short cut fairway, a bare spot in the rough, or on the cart path are the most common. To be successful in this position, near perfect contact is necessary. Contacting the ground too far behind the ball causes the club to bounce off of the ground, striking the ball toward its equator. This motion causes the ball to travel on a low trajectory with very little backspin. The ball also continues to roll after hitting the ground. The same result occurs if swing shallow, trying to pick the ball off of the tight lie. It’s hard to get under the ball.

Tight Lies

Soft Lies

A soft lie is finding your ball on wet ground, or the grass is longer compared to the fairway. Just as in a tight lie, perfect contact is necessary to be successful. Hitting too far behind the golf ball when the ground is wet causes the club will dig into the ground too much. A major loss of distance usually occurs as a result. It is very easy to swing under the ball that is sitting on top of any longer grass. A majority of the time, the ball pops straight up into the air.

How Can You Handle These Lies?

If you are facing either of the shots above, be as still as possible with your head position. Practice not moving up or down throughout the swing and into impact. Raising your head up too far leads to hitting toward the middle of the ball, causing a very low trajectory. Dropping your head too far causes you to hit too far behind the ball, resulting in major loss of distance. Another suggestion to increase your success in either lie is swinging more around your body, opposed to a more upright swing plane. This helps the club to not dig in a soft condition or bounce off of the ground in a tight lie.

Tight Lies

More Tips From Our PGA Pros:

Chris Wadwick, PGA

Chris Wadwick has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2011. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Business Administration. He brings a deep understanding of the inner workings of the golf business, especially club fittings, product knowledge, and visual merchandising, working for Dick’s Sporting Goods for over 7 years and Occoneechee Golf Club for more than three years, prior to that. When he is not in the office, you can always find him at a nearby golf course, attending games at his alma mater, or spending time with his wife and four dogs.

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Posted in Distance & Control, Instruction
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