handle tight lies on green

Professional golfers love to find the ball perched neatly on firm, closely shaved turf when facing a chip or pitch shot. The rest of us generally dread such situations.

In fact, few scenarios scare amateurs more than a short shot off a tight lie. Where pros see the opportunity to impart lots of backspin for added control, casual golfers envision a thin or bladed chip that skitters across the green to who-knows-where.

The key to success from bare lies is simple: You must strike down on the ball and hit it before the ground. Ensuring this requires one minor adjustment: moving the ball back in your stance.

If you play a normal chip with the ball in the center of your stance, you’ll want to move it closer to the right foot (left foot for lefties) from a tight lie. As a general rule, the tighter your lie, the farther right you should play the ball. You should also consider using a shorter club – a pitching wedge instead of a 9-iron, for example – because playing the ball back decreases loft.

Otherwise, no adjustments are needed. Just make sure the shaft is leaning toward the target at address, with a touch more weight on your lead foot, and make your standard chipping motion. As long as you hit the ball first, it will come out low with plenty of spin.