Adjusting to a bad lie
August 31, 2004
A common error among golfers is the inability to adjust for the ball sitting in a bad lie. Most golfers would simply attempt to play the shot they would normally play if the ball was sitting perfectly. Learning to make subtle adjustments for various situations is a great way to improve your game.
A simple guideline when it comes to bad lies is: The worse the lie is the farther back in the stance the ball should be played and the more lofted the club should be. The same goes for playing out of the rough. For instance, if the shot from a bad lie would normally call for a six iron, move the ball about an inch behind the center of the stance and play a seven iron. Moving the ball back in the stance automatically reduces the loft on the club and will cause a lower shot with less back-spin, thereby causing the ball to roll farther.
The swing should be shorter and firmer that usual creating a punching effect. This swing is often referred to as a three-quarter swing. The feel of the swing should be that the hands are less active than usual. Firm hands through impact reduce the chances of the club head twisting. Another thing to consider from a bad lie is where to miss the shot based on the understanding that your shot is most likely going to be less than perfect. Select the shot that leaves the easiest next shot should you miss your target.
Practice this on the driving range and you will find bad lies less of a problem.
P.S. Grace Ray, a member of the Carson High girls golf team recorded the first eagle of her golf career on the second hole at Eagle Valley East. Grace used a seven iron for her third shot from about 110 yards and hit it into the hole. A great 3 on a par five.
Terry Gingell is a PGA Class “A” Professional and the Director of Instruction at Eagle Valley Golf Courses. Terry can be reached at 690-7970.