What Is A Flyer Lie In Golf?
A “flyer lie” is something that all golfers will have had on countless occasions yet many will not know how to recognise one. We hear the expression used a lot on televised golf tournaments when a ball sails through the back of the green and the commentator will ruefully remark “oh he must have caught a flyer out of that rough”. But what exactly is a flyer, how do you recognise when you have one and how should you then play the shot?
When a golf ball lands in the short or medium rough there are a number of ways it can lie. It might sit down deep or it might be nestling nicely on top of the grass. Maybe it’s somewhere between the two. How the ball is sitting in the grass determines how it will come out and informs you as to the type of shot you need to play for maximum effectiveness.
A ball hit out of any length of rough performs very differently to one played from the fairway. When you hit a shot from the fairway or off a tee, the ball rolls up the face of the club and the grooves will impart backspin, causing your ball to stop quickly when it lands.
If grass is trapped between ball and club face you will lose that traction and resulting backspin, causing your ball to come off the face hot and then run on considerably after landing. This is known as a “flyer” and it most commonly occurs when hitting out of short or medium length rough.
Playing shots from thick rough, or with a particularly bad lie in the medium stuff, there will usually be a lot grass between the club face and the ball, meaning that unless you have exceptional club head speed then your club may be slowed down too much for the ball to come out hot. In fact, it might not come out at all. We’ve all experienced that.
Identifying a flyer lie can be tricky but it will become easier with experience. Try to make a mental note of how your ball lies and then pay attention to how it comes out. This will stand you in good stead for the next time it happens. It is never an exact science though and much of it is educated guesswork. Not even the tour pros and their caddies get it right every time and there is always some degree of uncertainty when hitting out of the rough.
When will the ball fly?
Generally, if your ball is sitting quite low and surrounded by short or medium length rough then you have a flyer. Similarly, if you think you can get your club through slightly longer rough (such as the dry, yellowish stuff you might find in…
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