Lay Up Golf Shot: Master the Technique for Success on the Course

Playing aggressive golf will enable you to shoot more birdies and pars but sometimes playing a lay up golf shot can benefit your score, even if it hurts your ego.

Pushing your tee shot into the rough can make it near impossible to reach the green, and force you to play a lay up shot.

The latest trend in golf is to hit the golf ball as far as possible toward the green and use the shortest possible club to get it on the green.

However, playing a conservative shot leaving yourself your favorite distance, and every golfer has a favorite distance, can keep your score intact.

Course management is a crucial part of golf to score well. This entails not taking unnecessary risks on shots that you have a low percentage chance of executing successfully.

In this lay up golf shot review we look at some of the strategies that will keep the smile on your face and your score low.

What is a lay up in golf?

A lay up golf shot is a conservatively played shot to avoid hazards between you and the pin.

A golfer “lays up” on a hole when the risk outweighs the reward, or when the golfer knows that hitting a shorter shot is really the only option.

💡 Golfible Tip: It is advisable to lay up before a water hazard in front of the green if there is a low chance that you will clear the hazard with a long iron. Rather lay up before the hazard and use your scoring irons to get close to the pin.

Should You lay up in golf?

There are two schools of thought on whether a layup shot is the best solution.

Conservative players prefer to play a layup shot to their favorite distance.

More aggressive golfers are of the opinion that you should get the ball as close as possible to the flag every time and let the short irons close out the distance if required.

However, even aggressive players will lay up if they are unlikely to get to the green or be able to hold the green when it is hard.

What is a lay-up hole?

Any hole can be seen as a lay up hole depending on your ability and prevailing conditions.

If there is a hazard in front of the green that you may not be able to clear, a lay up shot is the better route to go.

This applies to par 3s, par 4, and par 5s.

When your golf ball is laying down in deep rough, it is more advisable to lay up than attempt a superhero shot that stays in the rough.

Lay UP as A Golf Term: History

The term lay up is part of the folklore of golf dating back as far as the early 19th century.

The first recorded reference to a lay-up shot can be found in The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms where it states that when “There is a running stream between you and the green … If you were playing a medal round you would lay up in two, be safely on the green in three.”


Why do you lay up in golf?

In golf, players “lay up” to avoid hazards or obstacles on the course that they can’t safely hit over. This means they hit the ball intentionally short of the hazard, leaving themselves with a longer shot to the green. It’s a strategy used to minimize risk and increase the chances of making a good score on the hole.

What is lay up distance in golf?

Lay up distance in golf is the distance that a golfer aims to hit the ball on a particular shot, with the intention of landing it short of a hazard, like a water or sand trap, rather than hitting the ball all the way to the green in one shot. The aim is to play it safe and set up a more manageable

Photo of author


Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

Leave a Comment