Ernie Els: How To Hit A Hybrid From A Bad Lie

The South African gives his best tips on how to hit a hybrid from a bad lie

Ernie Els hitting a shot in a 2020 PGA Tour Champions event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The wonderful thing about the best golf hybrid clubs is the versatility they give you. Not only can they be used from the tee and the fairway as a handy alternative to a long iron, but they are very valuable when you encounter a nasty lie in the rough or even roll into a divot.

Thanks to its shallowness, an escape accompanied by a decent amount of yards is possible. In the video and article below, four-time Major champion Ernie Els shares his top tops on how to hit a hybrid from a bad lie. 

Stick to the basics

When you find yourself in a tough spot, for example a divot, you need to consider what is the right ball position for hybrids? In this instance, you want to produce an attack angle that allows for clean contact to be made. This means moving the ball back in your stance to somewhere near the middle, therefore encouraging a downward strike, more like the kind you'd expect from an iron.

From there, opening up your stance a little - for right-handers this means aiming slightly left and vice versa for lefties - is a good idea as it further promotes the desired club path.

Your sternum should also be set nicely over the ball, which again is important for a good strike. When you're in position, you'll notice the difference from your normal set-up as it should feel like you're preparing to play some sort of low punch shot.

Creating flight

Now that you have the ingredients to adopt the most efficient address position, it's time to play the shot. Since you're going to be driving the club down more than if the lie was perfect, you need to create a match-up with the follow-through to ensure the ball still flies towards the desired target.

When the angle of attack is steeper, a golfer needs to feel like they 'swing left' into the follow-through, otherwise the tendency will be to hit low hooks. That might sound complicated so a useful feel to create this pattern is to imagine you're trying to play a fade.

Ernie Els hitting an iron shot

Imagining you're trying to play a fade will help you escaping bad lies with a hybrid

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not only will this give you the best chance of producing a reasonably flighted shot given the circumstances, but it will also minimise how much the clubhead can turn over through impact.

Another simple thought that will help is to grip the club a little tighter in the left hand. (The opposite applies when hitting a draw - loosen the grip pressure in your left hand.)

By making these adjustments, the ball should come out powerfully and on a good line, even from bad lies. It's a shot that'll take some practise like most things, but is an extremely useful one to have up your sleeve when you find yourself off the beaten track.

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1