The Truth About Lies
By Mike Andrusin
More times than not I find when I ask my students about shots they think they would try to execute in given situations on the golf course, I find they immediately give me the standard “yardage equals club selection” answer. I try to get it into their heads that they must have a thought process by which they make their decision. I want them to ask me the question, “What is the truth about the lie?”
Not every 150 yard shot is a 7 iron. I teach my students to recognize the situation that the ball may be in. If the shot is from the fairway and the ball is sitting nicely then maybe the shot is a full 7 iron. What if the ball lies in the rough? There are factors that affect the shot. What does the ball look like in the grass? Can you see the back of the ball? Is the grass growing against the direction of the shot? Is the ball sitting up nicely in the tall grass? All of these factors will effect how high and how far the ball will travel.
When students make it to short shots around the green there is more to think about. Don’t automatically grab the wedge for those chip shots. When golfers think they can hit any shot with one chipping club they are not taking advantage of the other clubs in the bag. Again, always look at the ball in the grass, and then add in the shot shape you want to achieve: high lofted soft landing or low bump and run. If the ball is sitting up in the grass, then the high lofted shot in some circumstances may not be the prudent play. If the grass is growing towards the ball, then it may take more effort to extract the ball out of the tall grass and rolling onto the green. In most cases, if the ball is sitting in the grass, and you can see the back of the ball, you may be able to get your club on it easily. Then your shot arsenal opens up to what you feel comfortable with.
So the next time you are faced with a situation where your ball is in a less than friendly lie, examine your situation begin that thought process and make your club and shot selection based on how the ball is sitting on the course and what kind of contact you can make during the swing. Be sure you don’t fall into that trap of “yardage equals club selection.” Find the truth about the lie.
Mike Andrusin is a PGA Golf Professional who teaches for the Morris County Park Commission. He instructs at all four of the county courses and keeps a clinic and individual lesson schedule open for the duration of the county golf season. For lessons call the 973-697-1041 or log onto www.begingolfnow.com for a clinic schedule.