Connect with us

Instruction

How to hit shots from uneven lies

Published

on

If you’ve ever been to the Augusta National Golf Club, you can appreciate the severity of the hills players have to deal with there. The property has something like 15 stories of elevation change on it. The par-3, 12th hole is some 150 feet lower than where the club house sits. If you have walked it, you’d know what I mean. While watching the broadcast, it occurred to me that a lot of my students struggle with hilly lies. If you do, here are some thoughts that might help.

The key to playing from uneven lies is posture. We need to establish a position from where we can get the golf club to bottom out slightly in front of the golf ball more consistently. To do so, you cannot address the golf ball the same way you would on a level lie.

Sidehill lie with the ball above your feet

SideHillLie

The idea is to stand a little taller and swing a little flatter. Bend less from the hips, and swing the club more around than up. Allow for the ball to curve left from this lie due to the flatter plane and more upright lie angle at impact. Stand slightly farther from the ball with a neutral ball position, regular grip and aim slightly right of the target. I do not recommend choking up on the club, as this might require standing a little closer and it could force the club on a more upright plane.

Sidehill lie with the ball below your feet

Garry21

The exact opposite of above. Stand a little closer, bend more from the hips and swing more up and down. The key here is a steeper attack angle, so the posture and distance from the ball need to facilitate that. Allow for the ball to curve slightly right due to the more vertical swing plane and flatter lie angle at impact. Grip and ball position are neutral.

Uphill lie

UpslopeGolfLie

This shot requires a level attack angle, with your shoulders parallel and spine perpendicular to the slope — think of more rear side bend, or tilt to the spine. Imagine swinging down the slope and up the slope, and allow for the ball to fly considerably higher, which in most cases will require you to use less loft to hit the shot the correct distance. For example, a 7 iron may come off like a 9 iron. It’s easy to come up short.

Downhill lie

Garry21

This is the toughest lie in golf. To play from this unwanted situation, change your posture exactly the opposite of the uphill lie. Your shoulders should be parallel and spine perpendicular to slope with help you swing more “down the hill.” The spine will be tilted forward and the weight will be on your lead foot. Swing “up the hill and down the hill” at the ball and allow for the flight to be much lower than normal trajectory. If you are faced with this shot to an unprotected green, it is not a problem. If the green is uphill or protected, it might be best to simply lay up in front. The biggest problem I see here is when players try to help this shot in the air and hit it fat.

Balance

The most difficult part of playing from hills is balance. It’s essential to keep what’s called your “swing center” over the ball. You cannot let the body sway too far off the ball, as the hill will not allow you to get back to impact in balance. I recommend using one more club in most instances, as the shot becomes more of an “armsy” one. You can learn to play from slopes if you change your posture and DO NOT try to fight the hill or the flight that ensues. Sometimes the golf course has us beat, and it’s usually best to take our medicine and go on from there.

If you’d like me to analyze your swing, go to my Facebook page or contact me (dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com) about my online swing analysis program.

Your Reaction?
  • 72
  • LEGIT12
  • WOW3
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK8

Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Mike

    Apr 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Very hard shots

  2. Dennis Clark

    Apr 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Well you have to remember that the reason the golf ball tends to curve off these slopes is the plane of the arc, and the lie angle effect. If that happens regularly yes you could be “hanging on” to the above feet lie and flipping the below feet lie…ball position is another check point…

    • Happyday_J

      Apr 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I’m confused, the arc makes sense, but the lie angle doesnt for me. Wouldn’t the ball above your feet encourage more of an entry with the toe through the turf, opening the face, thus causing the ball to push, and the opposite with below your feet? Wouldn’t the heel catch first causing it to turn over, encouraging a pull?

  3. Happyday_J

    Apr 18, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I have a question. I have the opposite tendency, meaning the ball above my feet I tend to hang it out to the left (im a lefty) and ball below my feet I tend to pull it. It tends to be a cause of concern b.c the last thing a player wants is to double cross a shot, which that tends to cause. People often tell me that this is “the better players fault due to over correcting”. Thoughts and suggestions?

  4. marcel

    Apr 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

    simple mechanics of a swing. any shot is clean only if you return in same distance when hitting shot as when setting up before the shot. strong legs and lower back help to keep this intact so you can swing thru the ball.

  5. James

    Apr 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    What about a downhill side-hill lie with the ball below your feet?

    • Dennis Clark

      Apr 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Pray ????

    • Dennis Clark

      Apr 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Seriously a combo of above but more difficult. When that lie is severe I recommend chopping it out. Shanking a real danger on that one.

    • Jafar

      Apr 17, 2015 at 9:46 am

      You gotta add that, the ball has to be hit back up another hill.

  6. Dennis Clark

    Apr 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I see your point. It’s a tossup probably. But if you are fairly adept at hitting off of a downhill lie that you probably have a fairly steep attack angle in your swing. Thanks

    • TR1PTIK

      Apr 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Good point. Now, do you recommend keeping the ball position neutral for both uphill and downhill lies? I usually play the ball a touch further back for downhill lies, but probably stay neutral for uphill lies unless it’s a severe slope or close to the green – then I move the ball forward in my stance.

    • Dennis Clark

      Apr 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Sure you can. The problem sometimes with ball cak for downhill is its already coming off quite low.

  7. TR1PTIK

    Apr 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Funny to me that you consider the downhill lie to be “the toughest lie in golf” because I usually do quite well from that position. I think having the ball below my feet is considerably more difficult. To each their own of course. I appreciate the tips though and will try to implement them next time I find myself with an awkward lie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Tip of the week: The basics of fixing a slice

Published

on

Tom Stickney shows you what causes golfers to slice the ball and the simple steps to correct the bedeviling ballflight.

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Instruction

Best putting machine ever: You

Published

on

So many professionals on different tours struggle with their putting — and then they wonder why amateurs are struggling. It is high time (because of my success as a putting coach is less known but no less successful) that they let another coach take a crack at it with very real science and anatomy to back it all up.

I’m talking about every aspect of putting (from stance, to distance to ball, to posture, to alignment, to distance control, to speed of entry, to psychology). You will love how incredibly basic and sophisticated this video is and how easily it will be to apply for you. Enjoy the lower scores and freedom!

Your Reaction?
  • 10
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading

Instruction

Me and My Golf: Top 5 driving tips (plus one of our biggest giveaways ever)

Published

on

In this week’s Impact Show, we share with you five of our best driving tips that have helped many of our students and online members knock shots off their scores!

Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending