What Is A Flyer in Golf?

Golf has its fair share of unique terms and phrases, and one of them is the “flyer.” So, what exactly is a flyer in golf? Let’s dive into it.

Understanding the Flyer

A flyer refers to a golf shot that flies further than expected. It usually occurs when hitting from short to medium-length rough, also known as a “flyer lie.” When there is grass behind the golf ball, it becomes challenging to hit the ball without getting grass trapped between the ball and the clubface.

How to Identify a Flyer Lie

To identify a flyer lie, the first thing you should do when you get to your ball is to evaluate your lie. You will rarely catch a flyer off the fairway or out of thick rough. If your golf ball is in the fairway or even the first cut of rough, the grass is likely not long enough to get caught between the clubface and ball. However, if your ball is sitting down and surrounded by medium-length rough, you likely have a flyer lie.

Factors Affecting Flyers

Flyers are most commonly hit with 6, 7, 8, or 9 irons due to their trajectory and the amount of spin they create. Additionally, flyers can be more common on wet days. Water on the ball, grass, or clubface reduces friction, which in turn reduces spin rates. This is one of the reasons why PGA tour players always ensure the clubface is as dry as possible before hitting a shot.

Playing a Flyer Lie

Playing a flyer lie can be challenging, even for professionals. The amount of spin the lie is going to take off a shot is difficult to predict. However, here are some options depending on your lie and skill level:

  • Club down: Consider using a club that is lower in loft, possibly even more than 1 club if there are significant hazards behind the green.
  • Choke down: Choking down on the club increases control while reducing swing speed due to the reduction in club length/swing arc.
  • Open the clubface: Opening the clubface at impact causes the ball to fly higher than normal.

Strategy When Dealing With a Flyer Lie

When facing a flyer lie, it is crucial to play smart and know your skill level. Assess the situation and make an informed decision. For example, if you have an obvious flyer lie with water behind the green and a middle pin at 178 yards, you may need to consider laying up or purposely missing short. This way, you can avoid the risk of going long and potentially finding trouble beyond the green.

Always focus on avoiding the big miss and make strategic choices that suit your game.

Remember, understanding the nuances of different lies and shots in golf can greatly improve your performance on the course.


Now that you know what a flyer is in golf, you can better navigate situations where this shot may come into play. By evaluating your lie, making necessary adjustments, and strategically planning your shots, you can improve your chances of success on the course.

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