What is a Flyer in Golf? (+ 4 Tips to Avoid Hitting Flyers)
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on January 25, 2024

One of the steps to becoming a better golfer is learning to identify the lie you have. Not every lie is the same, and the way the ball is sitting on the turf has a tremendous impact on overall playability and ball flight. 

A flyer is something that comes up at least once or twice during an average round of golf. Knowing how to play this shot can save you quite a few strokes and help ensure that your golf ball ends up much closer to the pin. 

 

What Is a Flyer in Golf?

A flyer is a golf ball that travels considerably further than a golfer expects because of the lie it has. The flyer lie sits just above the rough, and it seems as though it’s sitting up and will be easier to make contact. 

This may be the case because the club has to travel through less turf to make solid contact. However, the flyer lie also involves the problem with moisture and debris between the clubface (the grooves) and the golf ball (the dimples). 

With very little friction between these two surfaces, the golf ball will travel up the face of the club, with no spin being imparted on the ball. The result is a shot that flies considerably further than usual and takes a big jump forward once it hits the green. 

Chances are you have seen these happen with your short irons, as that is where flyers often have the most significant impact. You may have a stock 9 iron to the green but hit out of a flyer lie you hit the ball over the back of the green and leave yourself with a long chip to come back up. 

Sometimes there is not much to do about flyers, but there are a few steps to help you avoid hitting these frustrating shots. 

 

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4 Tips to Avoid Hitting Flyers

Professional golfers will tell you that sometimes hitting a flyer is unavoidable. This is a shot that comes up that you may or may not be able to do much about. However, when you can learn how to identify and then make a few tweaks to your swing, you may have more success. 

1. Learn How to Identify Your Lie 

The biggest thing I have learned about adjusting for a flyer lie is to learn how to correctly identify what I am working with. There is a big difference between a flyer and a golf ball sitting deep or buried in the rough. 

Look at the shot and realize that the ball is sitting up, almost as if it is teed up. Many players walk up to this shot and are pleasantly surprised to see that the ball isn’t buried. You just need to be aware of how it is going to fly. 

I find that the flyer lie happens from the shorter rough more often than it does from the deep rough. 

2. Take Less Club

When I have short iron shots into the green, I notice that taking one less club makes a big difference. For instance, if I have an 8 iron distance with a flyer lie, I will often just take the 9 iron to see where it leaves me. 

Of course, you have to be smart about this and ensure that there is nothing between you and the green. Landing the golf ball short is fine but landing it in a water hazard is an issue. 

3. Use a Three-Quarter Golf Swing 

Taking a little bit off of your swing can also encourage you to have more control over the shot and lose a bit of the total distance that you would have gotten. The three-quarter golf swing is helpful regardless of what type of shot you have in front of you, and an unprepared player will pick up on this quite quickly. 

When you practice on the range, always work on these types of less-than-full swings to be able to get the distances you need. In addition, some professionals recommend golfers take a slightly steeper angle of attack than they would from a standard lie. 

The steeper angle increases the chance of more spin on the ball and less jump forward when the ball lands on the putting surface. 

4. Choose The Right Clubs 

We know that the flier is happening because of dirt and debris creating a lack of spin. Golf manufacturers are making golf wedges and short irons that have channels to filter out the debris and ensure there is still some friction between the golf ball and the clubface. 

Look for groove technology on your next set of golf clubs to help increase the overall spin and traction you can get from a tough lie. 

This is especially important when you have a flyer close to the green and requires a chip shot. 

 

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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1