Golf Tip: How to play out of an imperfect lie

NV Golf April May '16Bad Lies

Golf pro Scott Sackett with suggestions on how to play out of an imperfect lie.

When playing golf there are a lot of times when you won’t have a perfect lie. You might be in thick rough, mulch, pine straw, wet dirt, firm bare, or one of 100 different types of lies. This tip will focus on what adjustments to make in your golf swing to ensure solid contact from one of the most unfortunate lies there is, being in a divot in the fairway.

I have spent a lot of time on TrackMan lately thinking of using the lie as a reactionary tool for the student to then change his or her swing and attempt solid contact. The one lie I can create over and over again on the range is playing from a divot.

The simplest way I describe this is using the low point of the swing arc. Essentially, when playing from a divot, you want to shift the bottom of the swing arc farther ahead of the golf ball than a regular shot. This is because the ball is sitting below the level of the ground.

What adjustments in the swing should you make?

A common adjustment is to just shift the ball back in one’s stance and strike the shot. This presents two problems if aligned at the target: It shifts the club path (horizontal movement of the golf club through impact) significantly right and it gives the club face a shorter amount of time to square.

Instead, take your normal set up as if the lie was not in a divot. Then, shift your stance significantly open (the farther the ball sits down the farther left you’ll want to open your stance if right handed) and swing the hands/club head on stance line. This will do two things that helps ensure great contact even out of the worst of divots. One, it’ll increase the attack angle so you’re hitting more down at it. If the ball is below the level of the ground, there is no hiding the fact you have to go down and get it. Two, shift the swing direction or general direction of the arc far enough to the left to get the higher attack angle and allow the low point of the swing arc to occur farther in front of the ball.


How to Host a Golf Tournament

By Cassandra Johnson

Have you ever thought about organizing a golf tournament? It can take some work, but it can be a great way for a group to raise money. The fundraisers we typically see from our PTA, youth sports team, church, or scouts usually involve selling a product, but they are missing an important demographic: golfers. We are competitively minded, arrive with cash, and don’t care as much about wrapping paper and cookies as we do about a first place finish.

Groups like these could try organizing a fundraising golf tournament before they resort to selling candy bars again. A golf tournament can be such fun and so lucrative. I used to think I wasn’t good enough of a golfer to hold my own golf tournament, but it turns out you do not even need to know anything about golf to plan a great fundraiser tournament. Once I finally took the plunge and organized an extremely successful tournament on my very first try, I realized how much fun it could be, too.

It takes about six months to plan an event like this. Late April through early October tends to be the cheapest season. Once you have chosen a course and have a contract, it is helpful to create a website, or if the organization you are raising money for already has a website, perhaps they can add a tab dedicated to your golf event. Next, use Facebook and other social media platforms to promote your event, attract golfers and donors, and beg for prize donations. Gift cards to restaurants and golf shops, hotel stays, and golf balls all make good prizes, as well as unique experiences such as a winery tour or hot air balloon ride.

Your golf course takes care of everything related to golf, which frees you up on the day of your event to raise more money with a 50/50 raffle and mulligan sales.

I like this fundraising idea because it targets a different demographic than the usual fundraisers we see. Charity golf tournaments appeal to competitive golfers and novices alike—you bring them together for a good cause. For many more tips and ideas on how to make your event successful, you can download my guide, Planning Your First Golf Tournament Fundraiser, on Kindle, iBooks, and Nook!

The annual charity golf tournament I organize is scheduled for May 7, 2016 at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club in Cave Creek. Proceeds benefit the Arizona Chapter of Cure SMA, a grassroots organization of families and friends affected by spinal muscular atrophy. The money we raise pays for research to treat and cure SMA, which is a genetic neuromuscular disease affecting my children. Fifty percent of children diagnosed with SMA pass away before the age of 2, so my family is committed to helping fund research for a cure. So far, our Byrds Fore A Cure golf event has raised over $25,000 to that end! Learn more at







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