Mastering the Chip Shot: How to Handle Bad Lies

When you walk up to your ball near the green to see what kind of chip shot you are facing, it is never a good feeling to see your ball sitting down in a bad lie. Having a bad lie for a chip means that you will have fewer options available to you and it might not be possible to get the ball as close to the hole as you would like. However, you can still recover and minimize the damage if you take the right approach and use solid technique.

Take the following tips with you the next time you hit the course and you will be better prepared to deal with bad lies –

  • Choose the easy option. When you take a look at your bad lie, think about what the easiest possible shot is that you can hit to get your ball onto the green. At this point, the goal isn’t necessarily to get the ball close to the hole – just get it anywhere on the green so you can putt for your next shot. Consider a variety of clubs and different angles that you can use to bounce the ball safely onto the green.

  • Hit down aggressively. Most bad lies require that you hit down through the ball at impact to pop it up out of the grass and get it flying toward the target. If you are afraid to hit down on the ball, it is going to be difficult to get out of the poor lie and you might find yourself chipping again on the next shot. Practice putting your golf ball in bad lies around the practice area and work on your downward impact to see how much easier the ball comes out of the grass.

  • Tighten your grip. Around most of the course, it is a good idea to keep your grip as relaxed and gentle as possible. However, that advice does not apply when chipping out of a bad lie around the green. You will want to tighten your grip before hitting this kind of shot so you can maintain control over the club face as it moves through the grass. Pay particular attention to your top hand on the grip and make sure that it remains fully in control throughout the shot. Take a couple practice swings a few feet away from the ball to get used to the thickness of the grass before hitting your ball.