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Starting Lie Definition

Wondering what 'Starting Lie' to use?

Hamish Mitchell avatar
Written by Hamish Mitchell
Updated over a week ago


The tee box of the hole being played. It does not matter what club is used to tee off. This lie should be used for all tee shots, including par 3s and re-loads


The fairway and green-side fringe of the hole being played. Does not include fairway of a different hole. Can include the first cut of rough if it is narrow and not substantially different from fairway


Includes all official fairway and greenside bunkers. Also includes any sandy waste areas


Any lie not on the fairway or green where the player cannot hit a ‘normal’ shot toward the hole. For example, in the trees with an obstructed swing or line.


Any lie that cannot be categorised as any other lie. If it’s particularly deep – but not a ‘recovery’ lie – then use ‘Deep rough’.

Deep Rough

Rough that is deeper, but player can still hit a ‘normal’ shot toward the hole. If the rough is so deep that the player cannot hit a ‘normal’ shot at the hole, then use ‘recovery’.


Includes all shots on the green, whether or not a putter is used


Any penalty stroke other than ‘technical’ penalties.

Examples of ‘Recovery’ lie

A recovery lie should be whenever the player is in a situation where they cannot play a ‘normal’ shot toward the hole. For example:

  1. Trees are blocking swing or line toward hole

  2. Ball is in the trees and player needs to chip out

  3. Ball is in rough that is so deep they need to hit a shorter club to safely get the ball out

  4. Ball is in a fairway bunker and the player needs to hit a shorter club to get out, rather than hitting toward the green

  5. Ball is in greenside trees with tight lie. There is a clear line to the hole and nothing obstructing the players swing, but the player will need to hit over a bunker to a downhill green that runs out into water. Player decides to chip out sideways for a better line.

We’d categorise this as a ‘recovery’ lie condition, since the player cannot hit a ‘normal’ shot toward the hole

Examples of lie types to use in different situations

  1. Hitting a second ball off the tee (e.g., first ball OB): ‘Tee’

  2. Ball is on the fairway of a different hole: Use ‘rough’. This is consistent with strokes gained benchmark calculations and ensures ‘fairways hit’ stat is correct

  3. Ball is putted from the fringe off the green: ‘Fairway’, whether or not putter is used

  4. Ball is in the first cut, just off the fairway: Use judgement to decide whether lie is more similar to “fairway” or “rough”. Often, we suggest use ‘fairway’ when the first cut is narrow (~1m)

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