A flyer in golf is a term used to describe a shot that travels a longer distance than expected due to reduced spin and increased ball speed. This phenomenon occurs when the golf ball is struck with a glancing blow. Which causes it to ride on a cushion of air and reduces the amount of backspin generated. As a result, the ball travels farther through the air, making it difficult to accurately predict where it will land.

Flyers are an important consideration for golfers when planning their shots, and understanding the physics behind them can help players make more informed decisions on the course. In this article, we will explore the concept of flyers in golf in more detail and provide insights into how golfers can manage them to improve their game.

Hitting The Golf Ball Out of The Rough

flyer in golf

Before discussing what is a flyer in golf, it is essential to know where it occurs. To be able to choose your club and plan your shots wisely, it is a must to understand to components of the golf course.

Even though there is a variety of golf courses, their major components are the same and the rough is one of them. So, let’s take a look at each one and focus on the special characteristics of the rough:

The Tee Box

This is where every hole begins and is also the flat area where you can hit clear shots. Sometimes at each hole, there might be more than a set of tee boxes.

The Fairway

This area is the easiest to hit the ball. The tightly termed grass makes the ball movement easier. This part of the golf course is 30 to 50 yards and it’s between the tee box and the green. All golfers try to tee the ball to get into this part so they can hit the ball more accurately to the green.

The Green

This is where you put your ball. This area is where each hole is located. The grass is short so the ball can roll easily. However, the edges are tricky because they have long grass and can affect the spin of your swing.

Another important fact you should know about green is that the weather will play an important role in the contour of this area. The grass will be dry on sunny days so the ball will roll fast. On the other hand, after a rainy day or in areas where the humidity is high the grass will be wet and the ball will roll slowly.

The Hazards

Typically, it is the most challenging part of the golf course. If your ball goes here then your game will be so difficult, but still so interesting. There are two main types of hazards bunkers and water hazards. I will not get into details about this because the next one is what you want to know what is a flyer in golf.

The Rough

This is the part where your ball may be on a flyer lie. So, you must be aware of the characteristics of the rough to hit the ball accurately. This area surrounds the fairway. In contrast with the hazards, in the rough, your challenge is the grass itself, not the geography.

There is no standard length for the grass in this part of the golf course. The grass will be on more than one level. However, the shortest level will be longer than the fairway. Hence, this feature of uneven grass will challenge you a lot while playing.

Golfers normally avoid hitting their ball to the rough because they will not be able to get a perfect and accurate swing. But if it goes to the rough then the golfer will be in trouble because the ball lies there are a bit complicated.

What is a Flyer in Golf

what is a flyer in golf
What is a Flyer in golf

If you are a new golfer then I am sure that you had come across a Flyer. When your golf ball is laying in some light rough. In this case, your hit will not be easy because there will be grass between your clubface and the ball. The grass in this case will decrease the backspin that your clubface will put on the ball. As a result, your ball will travel further than what you expect out of the rough; and that is what is a flyer in golf. In other words, when your ball lies between the grass on the ground.

Does the Club Choice Affect the Flyer?

Let’s say, you have a good idea about the variety of club types and what are they used for; along with knowing what is a flyer in golf. Then, you must know that the club you will hit will affect the result of the flyer.

  • Higher lofted clubs: When using these clubs, the spin of the ball will decrease but the launch will be higher. This will result in a significant change in the distance the ball can travel. The ball will travel longer than it normally does. So, some examples of this type of club can be Iron 8 and Iron 9.
  • Long clubs: Utilizing clubs such as Iron 6 and Iron 5 will not have a great effect on the ball launch. However, it reduces the ball’s spin. In this case, the ball will fall from the sky, shortening usual carry distances.

So now you can say that knowing what is a flyer in golf requires you to understand the effects each club can have on your hit. However, there are other aspects you should keep in mind such as the direction the grass is growing which, I will discuss later.

What is a Fluffy vs. What is a Flyer in Golf

As discussed before the grass in rough is uneven and can be so long it can create a layer under the ball. Thus, many players, especially beginners, find it hard to distinguish between what is a fluffy lie and what is a flyer in golf.

There is an essential difference between the two lies even though they both occur in rough. When the ball is laying on top of the grass and not touching the ground then this lie is called fluffy and not what is a flyer in golf. Thus, the little cushion under the ball will have way much different effects on the resulting hit than what you will get from a flyer lie.

“What is a flyer in golf”, on the other hand, is when the ball will be laying on the ground between the grass. Also, there is another thing that can help you distinguish between the flyer and the fluffy lie. And that is, in the flyer the grass surrounding your ball will be growing toward the target of your hit.

How can you play Flyer?

After understanding what is a flyer in golf, you might be asking yourself: how to play a flyer lie then? The answer is going to be to try and catch as much as you can from the golf ball. To do so you need to follow some adjustments in the way you will hit the ball.

The first step will be to use “shorter clubs” (shorter distances). So, you should decide which club you use to hit the ball in normal cases to reach the target. Then, you have to change the club and use a shorter one. For example, you want to hit a distance of 120 yards. The club that is usually used to reach this distance is Iron 9. However, in case of a flyer lie, it will be so beneficial to use a Pitching wedge instead.

Let’s now talk about how you should use the club to hit the ball accurately. The first thing you should do is change the way you hold the club. Grab your stance an inch further back. As you know that the stance is the one responsible to adjust the angle at which you going to hit the ball. Now as you are holding the stance further to the back, your attack angle will become steeper.

Thus, if you followed the previous steps accurately then I assure you that you will get your target. And now I will tell you why this will happen. When your golf club face angle is steeper then you will automatically minimize the amount of grass between the club face and the ball. Thus, your ball will reach the target you are aiming for.

Hitting a flyer out of the Rough

In addition to what I suggested before, this part will give more detailed steps to get your ball out of the rough. When you hit your ball into the rough you might not be able to identify what is the problem with your ball. So, I briefly explained what is the difference between the fluffy lie and what is a flyer in golf. Now, I will elaborate to give you a better understanding.

The first thing you should keep in mind is you have to guess, half of playing rough will depend on your guess. Therefore, you must practice hitting the ball from different locations on the rough.

Second, if your ball lies on the rough and you do not know how to examine it the following tips will help you:

  1. If the rough was more than one inch tall then it will limit the movement of your club. The reason is that the ball can sink and lie on the ground between the grass. When seeing what is a flyer in golf, you’ll have an understanding. The result will be that there will be a barrier between your golf ball and your clubface in contact. Thus, the speed of your ball will decrease. Hence, this lie is one of the most difficult lies in golf.
  • If you are lucky enough you might get a fluffy lie. However, golfers who do not pay attention to details may always think of the fluffy flyer lying in the same way. Therefore, if you are not so familiar with differences you might hit them the same.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Flyer shots in golf can have both advantages and disadvantages depending on the circumstances of the shot and the player’s skill level. Here are some potential advantages and disadvantages of flyer shots:

  1. Increased distance: Flyers can carry farther through the air and may even roll out more than expected when they land. This can be advantageous when a player needs to carry a hazard or reach a distant target.
  2. Lower trajectory: Due to the reduced backspin, flyers often have a lower trajectory than normal shots. This can be useful when playing in windy conditions or when trying to hit a shot under a tree or other obstacle.
  3. Reduced spin: The reduced backspin on a flyer can also help reduce the amount of spin that the ball has when it lands. This can be useful when playing on firm greens or when trying to hit a shot that will stop quickly after landing.
  1. Reduced control: Flyers can be difficult to control, especially for less experienced players. The reduced backspin can make it harder to predict how far the ball will carry. And how it will react when it lands.
  2. Inconsistent ball flight: Flyer shots can have an unpredictable ball flight, which can make it difficult to plan and execute shots with precision.
  3. Risk of overshooting the target: Due to the increased distance that flyers can travel, there is a risk of overshooting the target and hitting the ball too far. This can be a disadvantage if a player is trying to hit a specific distance or target.

Overall, while flyers can offer increased distance and lower trajectory, they can also be difficult to control and result in inconsistent ball flight. Players should weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages of a flyer shot before attempting it and adjust their strategy accordingly.

How To Identify A Flyer

If you have a fluffy lie there are two types you should identify: if the ball was on the surface of the grass which means the grass is all under it. Here, you should be careful of hitting the ball so high that it might go nowhere. Hence, it will go down almost to the same location and might result in a flyer. The second scenario can be tricky for you if you are new to golf. The ball will partially slip into the grass, it will touch the ground and will not be on.

  • One thing that can help to know what club to use and what direction to swing your club at is the direction of the grass. So, identify your aim and find that the grass is growing in the same direction. Thus, you can hit your ball with a steeper angle and the grass will help in its movement.

On the other hand, if the grass is in the opposite direction of your aim. Then to get your ball out you have to hit it down-grain. When you do so your ball will jump out of the trap and you will be able to hit it from a different location.


Understanding what is a flyer in golf along with following the tips I mentioned before will help you master the hit. Thus, it is really important for you as a golfer to get a full understanding of the various ball lies. However, it is more important to know how to hit the ball accurately from its lie.


Is it better to use irons of wedges to hit a ball out of a flyer lie?

As I already discussed that the grass will come between the clubface. And the golf ball when hitting, and the spin of the ball will be reduced. As most wedges clubs are shorter than Irons, you might think that they are the best for such a shot. However, none of them is better. The point is that you have to read the lie precisely and measure the distance accurately. So you can identify which club is the best in normal cases. The next thing you have to do is choose the one that comes after it with the shorter distance. 

Can I use a driver to hit a flyer?

The driver is the club that can hit almost 220-250 yards. There is no club that can hit for a further distance. As the flyer lie restricts the speed of your ball, you will have to use a shorter club for such a lie. Using a driver will not be helpful for you.

How my body position affects the swing effectivity when the ball is in a flyer lie?

Well, this question depends mainly on whether you are left-handed or right-handed. The main part that will affect your hit quality is the hand you use. If you are left-handed then your hand should be lower than your left hand by about an inch.  In this case, the clubface will go down and hit the ball from the bottom. If you are right-handed your right hand should be lower. 

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