Dealing with uneven lies
The following descriptions will help you get set up for the side hill, uphill, and downhill lies you might face. Although your set up is somewhat altered for these shots, be sure that the measurement of the angle between your arms and club shaft at address stays consistent with what you do well on a regular full shot.
BALL ABOVE FEET - The swing in this situation will be flatter, a baseball type of swing where the ball is far above your feet on a side hill lie. You feel as if you are swinging at a pitch that’s knee high.
- Move your hands down on the club handle to shorten the club. You want to compensate for the fact that the ball is closer to you than it would be from a level lie.
- Take a club less than the distance you normally would hit because of the lower hooking trajectory of the shot.
- Align yourself a bit right of your target since the flatter swing plane causes a closing clubface which results in a pull or hooked shot.
- Play the ball a bit farther back in your stance which could counteract the tendency to hit this shot fast.
BALL BELOW FEET – Ball below the feet on a side hill lie will tend to peel off to the right. This tends to be a challenging shot for most players because of the difficulty maintaining address posture, resulting in a low slice or topped shot.
- Bend slightly more than usual when addressing the ball, flexing the knees and tilting more from the hips.
- Make sure your weight doesn’t get out on your toes.
- Aim fairly far to the left, allowing for a loss of distance, take plenty of club.
- Swing normally and within yourself, concentrating on good balance.
UPHILL LIES - Tend to be the easiest of the uneven lies to play. The ball is sitting there, ready to be launched easily upward. The main challenge here is to remember that because the ground is angling upward, more loft will be added to the club causing the ball to fly shorter than a regular swing would produce.
- Your right shoulder will be a bit lower than normal at address on an uphill lie.
- Your weight will be influenced slightly more to the right because of the slope
- Move assertively through the ball so that you don’t fall back and pull the ball left.
- Play the ball at your normal ball position or slightly forward.
- There is a bit more tendency to draw this shot so aiming a little to the right of your target is desirable.
DOWNHILL LIES - One of the more challenging shots. The ball tends to go lower and farther, often tailing to the right.
- Your shoulders should be in line with the slope at address. You will want to swing with the slope during your swing to avoid hitting behind the ball.
- Your weight will be influenced slightly more to the left because of the slope.
- Move the ball back in your stance---the steeper the lie, the farther you move it back.
- Depending on the severity of the slope, select one or two clubs shorter than normal since the ball will shoot off the downhill lie with a lower and hotter trajectory.
- Make a “compact” feeling swing with less assertive weight shift and lower body turn.
- Swing down along the slope and within yourself.
Practicing these shots will give you the confidence to pull them off when playing. Keeping your swing feeling compact and controlled will help you become successful with uneven lies. From all of these lies, take a practice swing. Good luck!