Good Exercises for Bad Lies
02 Nov 2011
by SKLZ Performance Training of SKLZ


It's inevitable that even the best player is going to find an awkward lie from time to time. In addition to the scoring benefits of getting "back in play," there are other issues to consider. One of those is that some of golf's most common injuries happen when trying to hit out of deep rough or awkward situations. Here, Steve Calechman of CorePerformance.com takes a look at exercises to prepare you for any situation, and Laird Small fo the Pebble Beach Golf Academy provides some on course strategy.

In the Gym...

Incorporate lateral squats into your warm-up, quadruped posterior rocking into your injury prevention routine, and cable chops and rotational lifts into your strength session.

Lateral squats

You’ll open up the hip muscles and mimic the extremes of a tough lie and having to put weight on your front leg, says Anthony Slater, general manager at Core Performance Center. Do 2-3 sets of 8 reps as part of your workout and 1 set of 6-10 reps as movement prep on the day of a round.

Quadruped posterior rocking

This low-intensity, mobility exercise will allow you to work your hips independently from your spine, take stress off your lower back, and help with balance, all necessary for dealing with uneven lies, says Slater. Do 2 sets of 10 reps before you put on your golf shoes.

Half-kneeling stability chops

Chops will challenge your balance by forcing you to maintain pillar strength while managing a resistance. They'll also help you improve the stability needed to channel more energy into the ball, Slater says. Do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Standing rotational lifts

You’ll work balance while also transferring power through your hips. “You can put more onto the ball, even if you don’t make the perfect connection,” Slater says. Do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

On the Course...

1. There’s a reason that you’re in the rough. You made a mistake. Don’t compound it by trying a ridiculous, odds-defying rescue shot. As much as it hurts, put the ball back in play, take a stroke if you must, and move on. “You want to minimize the mistake,” says Laird Small, director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy.

2. Next, consider club selection. You need loft to extricate yourself from this mess, more loft than you think is necessary. If you usually use a 5-iron, go with an 8 or 9. The combination of standing more vertically and the heavier head will chop through the turf better. Play the ball back in your stance—the club will have to go through less grass and can meet the ball sooner and with more force, Small says.

3. Finally, know your target depending on the lie:

When in a greenside bunker, aim for the sand in order to carry the ball out on a gritty cushion. Keep the ball at mid-stance with your weight on your front leg to not hit the sand too early and to be able to hit down. Do this and you’ll avoid hitting the lip or sending the ball over the green and probably straight into another bunker, since that’s how courses are laid out, Small says.

When you’re in the rough off the green, you’re not looking at a complicated stroke. You want the club to brush the turf. Think of a child’s swing set—back and through without over- acceleration. Have a narrower stance to stay quiet with your weight on your forward leg and your shoulders parallel to the ground. Take a few practice swings and let the club do its job to launch the ball, Small says.

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Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. Along with being a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine, he’s written for Natural HealthPhiladelphia, The Old Farmer’s AlmanacThe Robb Report,  and Women’s Health magazine.

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