How to Hit Off a Thin Lie

By Steve Silverman

There are times where you will hit the ball beautifully off the tee and it will come to rest in the lush fairway, giving you an opportunity to go for the green in two shots. However, not all of your tee shots will end up where you want them to go. Sometimes during the heat of summer, your ball will end up on hard ground that does not allow you to swing at the ball the way you want to. This is called a thin lie and it happens frequently. Here's how to deal with it.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step 1
Stay cognizant of the environment that you are hitting from. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can take your full swing when you are unable to get underneath the ball from a hard-pan (another term for thin) surface. If you feel like you are not going to be able to get underneath the ball, you need to take a different approach.
Step 2
Take less of a swing than you normally do. When hitting from a hard surface, take the club back about three-quarters of the way. Come through the ball a bit slower than normal but finish your swing. Taking less of a backswing will help you maintain your balance.
Step 3
Come down on the ball. The principle behind hitting off hard ground is like hitting the ball from the fairway. You want to swing down on the ball to have it go up. You may feel compelled to try and "sweep" the ball off the hard ground, but that would be a mistake because it is unlikely you would hit more than the top half of the ball.
Step 4
Know that you are allowed to move any loose rocks that are near your ball that might interfere with your swing. However, if you move a pebble and the ball moves as a result, you would be assessed a one-stroke penalty.
Step 5
Hit through the ball without worrying about your club. You may hit hard ground after you strike the ball but your club is strong and can take the contact without damaging it. You may scrape the bottom of the club against the ground, but it will not hurt the club.

Tips & Warnings

Hitting the ball with a thin lie is a challenge and should be looked at as just one more obstacle to overcome when playing golf.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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