Having hit a nice tee shot down the fairway, you expect you ball to be in a nice position, with short grass underneath, ready to hit your second shot.
However, there will be occasions when you ball comes to rest on what is known as a ‘tight lie’. A tight lie is when the ground underneath the ball is bare, with little or no grass present. If there is no grass on the ground, the chances are it will be solid and compact.
This can occur when there has been a period of hot and dry weather, especially on links courses which receive little water other than rain.
The key when hitting the ball from a tight lie is to strike the ball cleanly. You do not want to strike the ground first but at the same time, you do not want to be worried about catching the top of the ball.
As many beginners are worried about topping the shot but do not want to hit the bare ground, they tend to try and scoop the club under the ball. Doing this will only increase the chances of hitting the ball fat or thin, which is the last thing you want.
To help promote a solid contact with the ball, it is best to play it slightly back in your stance. One or two inches back from the centre of the stance will be enough.
Having got into position to play the shot, move your hands closer to your front leg, so they are well ahead of the ball. Place a bit more weight on your front foot, as this will help you to hit down on the golf ball, hitting it first, before contacting the ground.
If you are worried about playing this shot with a longer iron, then why not try using a hybrid club? This will give you a little more loft.
You can practice this set-up at the driving range or if you can find a local field with very little grass in summer, that would be even better.
It does take a lot of practice to get this shot right but one way you can improve is by replacing the golf ball with a coin. A coin is very small and flat compared to a golf ball and this makes it much more difficult to hit with a golf club.
This drill is not about hitting the coin as far as you can. You will never actually hit the coin any distance at all but what you need to concentrate on is just making contact with the coin. If you can start hitting the coin consistently with your club, you are sure to make a nice contact with the golf ball when on a tight lie.