Wouldn’t it be great if we had a perfect lie every time? This rarely happens, of course, so it’s important to know how to play a shot from less-than-perfect conditions.

Uphill lie

This month, we look at how to play a shot from a sidehill, uphill or downhill lie. While these tips should be very helpful for your next comp or social round , we strongly recommend that you practice these shots prior to being faced with them on the course. We suggest you go to your driving range and try and re-create these lies or, even better, go to your golf course where you are faced with these shots and, at a quiet time, practice these shots.

The two most important things to remember when you are hitting from a hill are: 1) Maintain your posture and 2) Stay balanced. Remember that gravity will want to pull you down the hill – thus throwing you off balance and resulting in poor shots. So it will be important to have a solid stance with plenty of balance to counteract gravity.

Uphill Lie

  • When faced with an uphill lie, the ball will fly higher, so make sure you take an extra club or two depending on how much slope you have. In other words if you normally hit a 7-iron that particular distance, take a 6- or a 5 iron to allow for the higher ball flight off the slope of the hill.
  • The ball will fly right to left; so, aim your shot to the right of your target to allow for this.
  • This part is crucial: make sure your shoulders and your hips are sloping the same way as the hill.
  • Widen your stance slightly for better balance.
  • Keep your knees bent.
  • Keep your weight on the inside of your right foot (for right-handed players) as you take your back swing, if you allow the weight to shift to the outside of your foot you will get stuck on your back foot and probably hit on top of the ball.
  • Use a ¾ length swing  — it will help you keep your balance.

Downhill Lie

  • The ball will fly lower, so make sure you take a more lofted club. In other words if you normally hit a 7-iron that particular distance, take an 8- or a 9- iron to allow for the lower ball flight from the slope of the hill, and the ball will a roll a bit further too.
  • The ball will fly left to right, so aim left of your target to allow for this.
  • Like the uphill lie, the following is crucial:  Make sure your shoulders and hips are sloping the same way as the hill; you will probably feel like you have slightly more weight on your front foot.
  • Use a ¾ length swing to help you keep your balance.

Sidehill lies (ball below your feet, or ball above your feet)

An important point to note is that a sidehill lie will affect the flight of your ball – either right-to-left or left-to-right. If you forget which way the ball is going to move in the air for your sidehill shots, imagine rolling your ball along the ground from the lie you have. Your ball will move the same way in the air as it would rolling your ball along the ground.

Ball above your feet

Ball above your feet

  • The ball will fly right to left (for right-handed players), so aim your shot to the right of your target to allow for this.
  • The ball will often fly lower, and run further. Take a more lofted club to allow for this.
  • With the ball above your feet, the ground is now closer to you; grip the club slightly shorter than you normally would to avoid digging into the ground.
  • Use a ¾ length swing — it will help you keep your balance.

Ball below your feet

  • The ball will fly left to right (for right-handed players), so aim to the left of your target to allow for this.
  • To keep balanced, keep your knees bent — pushing the weight into the heels; this will help you maintain your posture throughout your swing, (Remember: gravity will want to pull you down the hill.)
  • Use a ¾ length swing it will help you keep your balance.

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