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How to Hit Off Slope Lies In Golf

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Uneven lies can be some of the tougher shots in golf. This shot is one that gives even the most skilled golfers trouble, but one that everyone can succeed at hitting if given the correct tools. Although the slope lies are not often practiced, do not feel you need to surrender to these shots. Knowing the correct set up for each slope lie will help you execute the shot correctly to get you closer to the hole.


So let's talk about the lies… what are they? We can have uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies (ball above your feet, and ball below your feet). In each instance the shot will come out differently, so understanding how your ball is lying in relation to the direction you want to go is key.


One thing I see a lot while giving playing lessons on the course is golfer's not reading the way their ball is lying before they play the shot. It is of the utmost importance to look and understand where the ball is in relation to where you are and where you want to go. Most golfers approach these shots without considering the slopes and set up as if hitting a normal shot. You might make contact with the ball, but it is most certainly not going in the direction you planned. For example, if the ball is above you feet and you aim straight chances are you are going to miss it to the left.


It is important to set up specifically based on the lie and slope. Below we will provide the tools necessary to examine each lie and set up correctly to get the ball going towards your target.


HITTING OFF UP AND DOWNHILL LIES

The ball is positioned on a hill sloping upward or downwards.



Uphill Lies Stance:

1. Shoulders and hips parallel with the ground/slope.

2. Place your ball a little further back in your stance to make sure you hit the ball first before the ground. (Take a few practice swings in this position to determine the bottom out point and make ball placement adjustments.

3. Place more weight on the front foot than normal to assist in coming through the shot and prevent falling back. It is difficult to shift your weight to the front while trying to swing uphill. Falling back and losing the ball to the right is a common outcome.

4. Take one more club because the uphill slope adds loft to your existing club. For example, a seven iron will hit like an 8 iron because it gains more loft due to the slope.

5. Always take a few practice swing next to the ball to get a feel for the slope and stance.

6. Maintain your body position (shoulders parallel to the slope) throughout the swing.

7. BE FREE AND HAVE FUN! This is a learning process so stay open to the mishits and learn from them!


Downhill Lies Stance:

1. Shoulders and hips parallel with the ground/slope.

2. Place your ball a little further back in your stance to make sure you hit the ball first before the ground. (Take a few practice swings in this position to determine the bottom out point and make ball placement adjustments.

3. Take one less club because the downhill slope takes away lot to your existing club. For example, a seven iron will hit like an 6 iron because it losses more loft due to the slope.

4. Always take a few practice swing next to the ball to get a feel for the slope and stance.

5. Maintain your body position (shoulders parallel to the slope) throughout the swing.

6. BE FREE AND HAVE FUN! This is a learning process so stay open to the mishits and learn from them!


In general, uphill lies tend to fade a small amount and downhill lies tend to hook, but if you set up correctly and maintain a fluid, balanced swing you should be able to hit these shots relatively straight. The key to these shots is maintaining that parallel position throughout the swing. This will keep you even with the slope and encourage crisp, clean contact.




HITTING OFF SIDEHILL LIES

Sidehill lies include being on a hill with the ball above your feet or a hill with the ball below your feet.



This shot can be tricky but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to hit it with ease.


Ball Above Your Feet Stance:

1. Adjust your aim to the right to correct for the draw tendency of this lie. Usually off this lie, the ball will draw (go left).

2. Place your ball a little further back in your stance to make sure you hit the ball first before the ground. (Take a few practice swings in this position to determine the bottom out point and make ball placement adjustments).

3. Choke down on the club - since we are closer to the ball in this lie, we need to shorten our club length to accommodate.

4. Always take a few practice swing next to the ball to get a feel for the slope and stance.


Ball Below Your Feet Stance:

1. Adjust your aim to the left to correct for the fade tendency of this lie. Usually off this lie, the ball will fade (go right).

2. Potentially place your ball a little further back in your stance to make sure you hit the ball first before the ground. (Take a few practice swings in this position to determine the bottom out point and make ball placement adjustments.

3. Bend more at the knees. Since we are further from the ball in this lie, we need to adjust our stance to get closer to the ball.

4. Always take a few practice swing next to the ball to get a feel for the slope and stance.

5. Maintain your body position of more knee bend throughout the swing.



We do not usually practice these shots unless on the course so, have patience while learning the sidehill lie shots. These shots can be frustrating, but with the correct tools you will start executing them perfectly.


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