What Is A Lay Up In Golf?

What Is A Lay Up In Golf?

There are many golfers who think that to lay up a shot in golf is taking the easy way out. If you have ever played a long par 5 hole, there are many times where laying up makes the most sense compared to other possible golf shots.

When a golf player is dealing with water hazards, sand traps or long courses, it is best to go for a closer shot versus ending up in a sand trap, water hazard or ob ( out of bounds ). A shorter shot will lead to a higher probability of getting on the green versus trying to strong arm a shot and it end up costing you a stroke.

I see ZERO THINGS wrong with laying up especially when it comes to high par courses. Now with par 3s and even “some” par 4s, there are not many reasons to try and lay up since you only have so many shots. As you get into the standard par 4 and par 5 courses there are plenty of reasons why a lay up is exactly what you should be shooting for.

There are a couple courses in Arizona for example that are LONG and have more than enough sand traps to deal with. I have happily layed up or is it laid up? Hmmmn. Either way, I have been on plenty par 5 courses with large bodies of water in the middle ( florida comes to mind pre-pandemic ) and sometimes you never know if you have enough “club” to get the ball over the water hazard.

Laying up in golf can and does make sense on a ton of shots. I would also rather get myself close but still inbounds on the course compared to the many what ifs that COULD come from accidentally ending up in the drink or sand trap.


What Is A Lay Up Hole?

With a lay up hole it means just that. The perfect golf course hole in which most local golfers tend to lay up at. Now you can simply call any hole a lay up hole in golf BUT most know of their local courses that have “for sure” lay ups.

A lay up hole in golf is when a golfers hits the ball with less cub swing OR using a different approach angle. Golfers will lay up when they feel that they will have a high probability of losing a stroke due to a sand trap, out of bounds or water hazard.

Many lay up holes to my local circle is like one we had in Nevada actually. It was in Reno and everyone knew where to lay up and why it makes more sense. For those who have real power behind their swing PLUS actual accuracy, you can actually skip laying up.

Now to show off those shot game putting skills. You do have putting skills right? If you get your long game down you better get that short game on par ( or rather UNDER par lol ).


When Should You Lay Up In Golf?

There are many golf trainers who suggest laying up on par 5 courses. This does make sense for MOST golf courses but does not mean ALL par 5 holes should have you laying up shots. You can also lay up if you are playing with less skilled golfers. Giving them a chance here and there is never a bad way to get more of your friends and family golfing WITH you.

You should lay up when you are faced with water hazards, sand traps and out of bounds boundary markers that they feel they cannot avoid with a full power swing. Golfers will choose to go the safe and usually closer shot compared to the longer and possibly OB shot.

Another reason to lay up is if you forgot to bring extra golf balls with you. Man did I feel like a dope when it happened to me. It reminded me of back in the day doing some miniature golf and accidentally hit the ball into the water. They used to make us think that those bulk golf balls were somehow worth more than gold.

To be young and dumb and btw, playing miniature golf can really help you will your putting and angled golf shots. You really only have two things to focus on, whether you are having to lay up or not. You got your short and long game.

I try and focus more on my putting personally. I feel that there are times where I can really get behind the ball and send it soaring BUT that is just sometimes. With my shortgame and putting getting far better, it allows me to still be able to sink those putts even if they are exactly on the green as I had planned.


Should You Lay Up On A Par 4?

You can lay up on a par 4 but normally these holes are smaller and a layup isn’t exactly a standard shot. Most times you want to give yourself at least 2 putts and can count backwards how many shots are needed to get you to where you need to be stroke wise.

You can layup on a par 4 by saving 2 putter shots once you are on the green. That will leave 1 solid drive and a single layup shot before hitting the green. Most par 4 courses that recommend a lay up tend to be longer or far more technical than average golf course holes.

I have shot a couple lay ups on a par 4 especially when water gets involved. I am not swimming to get a golf ball or even a golf club to be quite honest. Odds are I would get in the water for someone else IF they really needed the help but then again who comes to golf with family heirloom golf clubs anyways?

That does remind me of happy gilmore and his custom hockey stick golf club. I think I would dive right in the water IF I was sporting something as tricked out as that.

  • Fun fact…
  • Did he end up naming it?
  • If so, what did he name it?


How Can I Play A Par 4 Better?

Practice, of course will help you but I think one of the best things you can do to improve your game especially on a par 4 is by walking the course. Actually look on google maps for example and you can get a birds eye view of each and every hole. Some of the maps are older but most have been updated especially in larger cities.

With par 4 holes, you should walk each hole and take notes with suggestions for yourself as to which club, which angle and distance is needed to complete the par 4 in 4 or less shots. Do not play a par 4 blindly especially if you are attempting to lower your golf score.

I would rather play a par 4 versus a par 3 personally. For some reason I enjoy having the possible extra shots without having to take a mulligan haha. With a par 3 there really isn’t any room for error. You have your drive then BOOM you have two shots left.

One has to get you on the green IF your drive didn’t get you there. That then just leaves you a single shot to HOPE to get par or be one of the lucky ones that day to be under par. Take that Tiger!!! lol


Should You Lay Up On A Par 5?

A par 5 does offer plenty of opportunity to lay up. Do you need to or is it a must? Of course it isn’t especially if you feel that you can get on the green in less than 3. If you have reservations about the distance then by all means plan for your tee shot and then your 2nd  can be a layup OR your 3rd can be at that point.

Having the option to lay up on a par 5 is where golf strategy and skillset come into play. You can layup on a par 5 and easily have 2 or 3 putts to sink the golf ball and still shoot par or under.

Not really sure if you should or if it is even a must. I mean if you normally are above par ( most of us are ) then laying up is not as important as a pro player where laying up actually matters to their game and their points.

I suggest every golfer LEARN each golf course and each hole that they want to play on. There can and will be shot angles that you might not have noticed when scanning through the google maps of the golf courses.

Nothing beats walking the course. I think everyone should do it even if they have played there on numerous occasions. A fun way to get this done is by bringing a new player with you and caddying for them. Show them the ropes and by playing with a new player, they might help you local new lines to try.


Overall Conclusions On Laying Up In Golf?

The game of golf that you play is exactly that, YOURS. Play the game you want. Take it serious or don’t take a single part of it serious. Just remember that there might be some within your group who want a very serious “quiet please” sort of game.

Personalities can and will matter especially when you get people together who are competitive. No matter if you are brand new to golf or not, laying up IS an option even if people try and make it as if it is a cowards way or easy way out. Come on folks, it’s just a game to MOST of us.

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