The golf course does not always present us with a perfectly flat lie and so you need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing environment in which you are playing.

Use this information to help you with your play on the course but my advice is to get out on the practice ground or the course and deliberately put your ball on slopes, in divots etc. so you can learn the best way to play the shots.

Most golfers that I see only ever practice off a perfectly flat lie with the ball sat up nicely on the grass; it’s no wonder their performance is markedly different when presented with awkward situations out on the course!

BALL ABOVE THE FEET

The first thing to take into consideration with this shot is ‘face plane tilt’.

This image shows how far right I am aiming to get the pen to point to my target line.

The amount you have to aim changes with the loft of the club. The more loft the greater the effect.

Ball above feet checklist:

  • Aim much further to the right than where you want the ball to finish
  • Grip right down the handle of the club to make the club play shorter
  • Place the ball in the centre of your stance

BALL BELOW FEET

For me, this is the more difficult of the two shots to play because it is all too easy to ‘lift up’ out of the shot and top or thin the ball.

The ball will always tend to fade/slice to the right so this needs to be allowed for in your set up.

Hold your club at its full length and bend your knees a touch in order to get ‘down’ to the ball.

Ball below feet checklist:

  • Aim the club further left than where you want the ball to finish
  • Grip the club at its full length
  • Wider stance and flex your knees more
  • Keep your knees flexed throughout the swing

UPHILL LIE

Set-Up
The first thing to remember is to take more club than normal. The slope will make the dynamic loft of the club greater so a 7 iron will play more like an 8 or 9 iron.

Aim to the right
The slope will restrict leg and lower body movement in the through swing causing the hands and arms to take over and the blade of the club to close.

Hold the club as normal and adopt a normal posture.

The weight should favour the lower foot and the spine should be perpendicular (at right angles to the slope).

The ball should be positioned opposite the higher foot to encourage the club to follow the contours of the slope.

The swing is as normal but gravity will make the follow through restricted especially in the lower body.

Uphill Lie Checklist:

  • Aim further to the right than where you want the ball to finish
  • Ball position forward in your stance
  • Spine at 90 degrees to the slope
  • Weight favours lower foot

DOWNHILL LIE

The first thing to remember is to take more loft than normal, dependent on the severity on the slope, as the ball will fly lower.

Everything should be aimed to the left of the intended target as the club is forced to be swung on a more upright plane. This leads to a more ‘out to In’ (leftward) swing path that will create a left to right curvature on the ball.

Hold the club as normal and adopt a normal posture. Again, the weight should favour the lower foot so the spine is perpendicular to the slope.

The ball should be positioned nearer to the higher foot encouraging the swing to follow the contours of the slope ensuring the ball, not the slope, is struck first.

The swing will feel more upright than normal and the knees should remain flexed throughout to prevent topping the ball.

Feel like you chase the club down the slope.

Downhill Lie Checklist:

  • Aim further to the left than where you want the ball to finish
  • Ball position back in your stance
  • Spine at 90 degrees to the slope
  • Weight favours lower foot

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