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How To Approach & Play Tight Lies In Golf

  • Golf, How to
  • 2 min read

Today we’re talking about tight lies and how to go about playing them.

What is it?

A tight lie is when a golfer’s ball is in a spot where there is hardly any grass underneath where the ball is resting. 

This could be sparse grass, dirt or some other kind of surface.

The tightness refers to the ground underneath the ball being firm.

Slightly different but still related terms for these kinds of lies are hardpan lies, bare lies, or thin lies.

These can be found in many places on a golf course, but the most common locations are:

  • Very closely mowed grass around putting areas
  • Bare patches in the rough areas
  • Links courses
  • Dried out golf courses
  • During the coldest parts of the year

In contrast to this, a fluffy lie is sitting up high off the ground.

Why is this an issue?

The tight lie presents a number of problems for a golfer, as the shot can be very difficult. In fact, lower-level golfers will find a high lie much less intimidating.

The main problem with a tight lie is that it’s difficult to get underneath the ball. As the ground beneath the ball is hard, there’s no possibility of getting under the ball.

When this happens, the golfer can easily thin the ball.

Another common side effect is that the golfer will try to correct by scooping the ball, and this will lead to thinning the ball.

How to approach a tight lie?

Generally, you want to focus on hitting down onto the ball when approaching a tight lie.

Hitting down on the ball ensures the club will hit the ball before the ground.

To do this, you can try the following:

  • Play the ball back further in your stance
  • Put more weight on your front foot
  • Swing steeply when making contact

This will naturally make the ball fly at a lower angle, which means it will roll further than a normal iron shot. 

Another way to approach a tight lie if it is close to the green is to use a different club. Try using a hybrid club or even a putter.

There are plenty of videos on youtube that can help you approach this shot.

So get out there and get practising. You’ll master this kind of shot in no time. Happy golfing!

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James Ewen