The Bird's-Nest Lie Explained

Golfers have lots of different terms to describe lots of different ways the golf ball sits on the ground (the ball's "lie"). One of those terms is "bird's-nest lie." Do you know what it means?

When a golfer plays a stroke and, upon approaching the ball where it came to rest complains about having a bird's-nest lie, what is she referencing? What that golfer means is that the ball is sitting down in the grass, such that when the next stroke is played there will be grass between the clubface and ball.

The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms (affiliate link) provides a very simple, direct definition of the term: A bird's-nest lie is one in which the ball is "deeply cupped in grass."

Some golfers might call such a lie a "buried lie" or "fried-egg lie," although those terms are much more associated with balls in bunkers rather than rough; and the term "cuppy lie" might sometimes, fit, too, although, again, that term often refers to something else.

What do you do when you find yourself faced with a bird's-nest lie? What are your options for playing such a ball? There are two main approaches. One is to treat such a circumstance the same as you would a fried-egg lie in a bunker and blast the ball out by, essentially, intentionally playing a fat shot. This is the method described in the video above.

A second method is to play the ball far back in one's stance and chop down on the back of the ball, punching it out. That method is described by golf instructor (and Big Break contestant) Cindy Miller in this Golf Tips Magazine article.

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