Do you know what a flyer lie out of the rough is and how to play it?
A flyer is when the ball jumps out of the rough on a shot with an iron or wedge and flies farther than normal.
This shot happens when there is just enough grass between clubface and ball to fill the grooves of the clubface at impact. Because the grooves don’t get a chance to grab the back of the ball, it comes out hot and takes off without much spin. This lack of spin causes the ball to fly farther and roll out farther than normal.
I am on the lookout for a flier when when my ball is perched up in the rough with just a few blades of grass between the ball and clubface. To counteract the effect of the flyer lie, I usually do one of the following:
1. Take an extra club (the next club down in my set with lower loft) and play a knockdown shot (smaller backswing and follow through). This knockdown shot produces a lower ball speed which makes it easier to control distance when there is not much spin on the ball.
2. Take one less club with a normal swing and trust that the ball will fly the extra distance needed. I usually use this option when I have to carry a bunker and there is not much green to work with between me and the flag.
When my ball is sitting down in tall grass (deep rough lie), I take a higher lofted club and swing harder because I need the extra clubhead speed to muscle the clubhead through the tall grass.
When I swing harder, I grip the club tighter which guards against the pull to the left that is a common miss out of thick rough. The pulled shot to the left happens out of heavy rough because the rough pulls at the hosel of the club causing the toe of the club to close through impact.
Solid contact out of the rough is also easier with a higher lofted club because the clubhead’s angle of attack is steeper than that of a lower lofted club. A shallow angle of attack when hitting out of thick rough would cause too much grass to get between the clubface and ball. Also, taking extra loft helps get the ball up quickly which is very helpful when hitting from a deep rough lie.
Keep in mind, the large amount of grass between clubface and ball will soften the contact and cause the ball to fly a shorter distance. However, the ball will roll out farther than normal because the grooves of the clubface will not make contact with the back of the ball.
My favorite lie is in the fairway when the back of the ball is exposed to the clubface allowing me to put a normal amount of spin on the ball and control the distance down to the yard.
Hopefully you will always be in the fairway, but if you do find yourself in the rough just remember how to hit out of these two lies:
1. Flyer Lie: Take more club with a smaller swing or one less club with a normal swing.
2. Deep Rough Lie: Take less club with a bigger swing.
Thanks for reading!