Accuracy and the Lie of the Golf Ball

You are going to have to tailor your expectations with regard to accuracy based on the lie of the golf ball. One of the key skills you need to develop as a golfer is learning how to read different lies as they come up on the course. This would be a relatively easy game if you always had a great lie, but of course, that is not the case. You are going to have to deal with some tough lies as you move forward in this game, and you’ll find that some of the trickiest lies don’t actually look that bad at first.

It is important to understand various types of lies because your understanding of these different lies will let you decide on the right course of action to move the ball toward the target. If you try to play all of your shots the same way, you will inevitably be disappointed in the results. The list of techniques below should help you gain an understanding of how a few different types of lies should be approached.

  • Tee shots. When on the tee, you should have a perfect lie each and every time. Since the ball will be played on top of a tee, you don’t have to worry about how the grass is going to affect your shot. Whether you tee the ball up high to hit a driver, or just over the top of the grass to hit an iron, you’ll be able to customize your lie exactly to your needs.
  • Approach shots from the fairway. Most of the time, you can be confident that your lie in the fairway is not going to cause any issues. Unless you get unlucky and your ball stops in a divot, playing from the fairway is an ideal situation. You should be able to get plenty of spin on the shot, and you should be able to control your trajectory (assuming your swing technique is up to the job, of course). If all you had to do on the course was hit tee shots and approaches from the fairway, life as a golfer would be pretty simple.
  • Playing from short rough. This is perhaps the toughest situation of all for the average golfer. On the surface, this kind of lie doesn’t look that bad. Sure, the ball is sitting in grass that is longer than the fairway cut, but you can still see almost all of the ball. It seems like you should be able to make good contact, so what’s the problem? Even though the lie doesn’t look bad, you have lost a significant amount of your control just by having to play from this kind of lie. The ball isn’t going to spin as much, meaning it will be harder to control the distance, and you won’t be likely to get your normal shape on the shot, either. As a general rule of thumb, you will be well-served to give these kinds of shots plenty of respect by picking safe targets and playing them conservatively.
  • Playing from long rough. Shots hit from long rough are difficult, but the decision-making process is actually a bit easier than it is in the short rough. When in the long rough, you’ll know you are in for a challenge. You probably won’t be able to hit the ball your usual distance, so a layup is the likely choice. Shots hit from long grass are going to have very little spin, meaning the ball is likely to bounce and roll after it lands. The main objective from here is to just get the ball back in play, finding some short grass for your next shot.

It should go without saying that the four options above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the types of lies you can draw on a golf course. You’ve probably already experienced many other kinds of lies, and you’re sure to find even more new ones as you continue to play this game. Each time you draw an unusual kind of lie, think it through and always err on the safe side. Your accuracy is typically going to be decreased when your lie is questionable, so proceed with caution and avoid a big mistake.