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Hitting Irons Off the Turf vs. Tight Lies

Golfers face a variety of challenging lies when hitting iron shots. From lush, thick turf to hard, tightly mown areas, the conditions require adjustments to swing technique and setup to make solid contact. It’s really important to do well in your scores if you can handle shots from both the fairway and difficult lies effectively. This article will provide key tips for hitting irons off the turf and tight lies.

Golf Tips for Hitting Irons Off the Turf

When it comes to hitting irons off the turf in golf, focusing on hitting the ball first and then the turf is key. The goal is to make solid contact with the golf ball, producing a clean strike. One helpful tip is to watch a tutorial video to learn how to properly hit the turf with your irons. This will ensure that the club strikes the ground just after making contact with the ball. By doing so, you will avoid chunking the shot or hitting it thin.

Another important aspect to remember is to keep your weight on the front foot throughout the swing, as this promotes good contact with the ball. Practicing these techniques will help you strike your irons more consistently. So, if you want to improve your iron shots, click on a video and learn how to hit the ball first and then the turf for better results on the golf course. 

When your ball rests on thick, longer grass, it presents some unique challenges not found on tightly mown lies. Here are several tips to help you make crisp contact and get the ball airborne from taller turf.

Optimize Your Setup Position

  • Widen your stance slightly to improve stability. Aim for a stance that’s about 2 inches wider than normal.
  • Position the ball forward in your stance. Move it up 1-2 inches from your normal iron ball position. This places your hands ahead of the ball at address.
  • Increase spine tilt away from the target. Tilt your upper body away from the ball position more than usual.
  • Play the ball off your front foot. At impact, your weight should be shifted onto your front side.

Make Adjustments to Your Swing

  • Maintain lag in your downswing. Hold off releasing the clubhead through impact to prevent getting “stuck.”
  • Swing down steeply with a more vertical attack angle. You need to sweep the ball cleanly from the turf.
  • Accelerate through the hitting zone. Pick up speed as you near impact to ensure enough power to get through the grass behind the ball.
  • Follow through low and left of your target. This descending blow requires a low finish rather than a high release.

Use the Proper Club Selection

  • Favor your longer irons for shots from the rough. The wider sole helps the club glide through dense grass.
  • Consider less than a full swing. The longer grass means less distance, so a smooth 3/4 swing is often the play.

Additional Tips

  • Sharpen your leading edge. Ensure it cuts cleanly through the turf rather than getting snagged.
  • Play for less spin. The thick grass will reduce spin, so take one less club than normal.
  • Commit to the shot. Don’t decelerate; be confident in your ability to power through.

Golf Tips for Hitting Irons Off Tight Lies

Golf Tips for Hitting Irons Off Tight Lies can be a challenging task for golfers, but with the right techniques, it can be conquered. Firstly, it’s important to select the appropriate club for the shot. Opt for a club with less loft, such as a 7 or 8 iron, to ensure a lower trajectory. This will help the ball roll better on the tight lie surface. Secondly, maintain a steady and solid stance throughout the swing. A wide and balanced stance can provide more stability and prevent the club from digging into the ground. Keep the weight slightly forward on the front foot to ensure a crisp strike.

Additionally, pay attention to the golf ball position. Place the ball slightly back in the stance, closer to the back foot. This will help ensure a downward strike and reduce the risk of topping the ball. Lastly, focus on making a controlled and shallow swing. Avoid taking a big divot by keeping the clubhead low to the ground through impact. Practicing these tips will improve your ability to hit irons off tight lies and ultimately enhance your overall game. 

In contrast to long grass, tight lies in the fairway or on the hardpan present a different challenge. Here are tips to hit solid iron shots when the turf is extremely short.

Effective Setup Positions

  • Play the ball back in your stance. Position it 1 inch back of standard to ensure catching it cleanly at impact.
  • Don’t widen your stance. Keep feet at your normal width instead of spreading out.
  • Limit spine tilt. Maintain close to a neutral back angle rather than tilting away.
  • Weight should favor back foot. Keeping weight back prevents chopping down too steeply.

Swing Adjustments

  • Maintain lag, but release fully through impact. Hold off releasing the club, then release fully just past the ball.
  • Swing shallow with a sweeping action. Skim the ball off the top of the grass surface.
  • Accelerate gently. Aggressive acceleration risks digging too much into the turf.
  • Follow through straight toward your target. The club should trace the initial swing path back to the left.

Smart Club Selection

  • Favor mid to short irons. The shallower sole glides along the top of tight lies.
  • Consider more than a full swing. The lack of grass means you can be aggressive with longer swings.

Additional Pointers

  • Ensure your leading edge is sharp. Dull grooves increase the chance of mishits.
  • Account for extra roll. Tight lies lead to more rollout, so club down.
  • Stay committed to the shot. Resist the urge to steer the clubhead unnaturally.

Key Differences in the Tips

While the individual tips have been covered, it’s also helpful to summarize the key differences:

  • Ball position: Forward in stance from rough, back in stance from tight lies.
  • Stance breadth: Broader when contending with challenging terrain, maintaining the standard breadth when faced with more favorable lies.
  • Spine tilt: More tilt away from rough, neutral from tight lies.
  • Weight distribution: Forward over rough, back over tight lies.
  • Swing path: More descending into rough, shallow and sweeping from tight lies.
  • Release: Hold off then delayed release from rough, early release from tight lies.
  • Club selection: Longer irons from rough, mid to short irons from tight lies.


Should I make my normal iron swing from both lies?

Indeed, adjustments are required. When on the turf, one must execute a more pronounced arc in the swing, whereas from compact lies, a gentler and shallower sweeping motion is preferred. It is imperative for the trajectory of the swing to harmonize with the lie of the ball.

What causes fat shots from tight lies?

Playing the ball too far forward, shifting weight toward the target early, and swinging too steeply through impact can all lead to fat shots on tight lies.

How do I prevent chunked shots from deep rough?

Widening your stance, playing the ball forward, and maintaining lag through impact will help avoid chunked iron shots from the rough. Also be sure to accelerate fully and follow through low.

Why is ball position different between lies?

From taller grass, moving the ball forward encourages sweeping the ball cleanly while preventing an overly steep angle of attack. From tight lies, positioning the ball back reduces the chance of hitting behind by bottoming out at the correct point.


Mastering both turf and tight lies is critical for improving your iron play and lower scores. While they require different techniques, the tips provided above will help you make crisp, consistent contact from any lie. Focus on optimizing setup, matching your swing to the lie, smart club selection, and commitment to each shot. With practice, you can excel at iron play from any lie the course throws at you. The ability to hit greens and get up and down will translate into better scores and more enjoyment on the course.

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