Woody's Corner August 2017

The Driving Range is a great place to fine tune your swing.  You can work with your driver, your fairway woods, your irons and even your putter on the practice green.  If you practice enough you will become very proficient at hitting all your clubs from a perfectly flat even lie. 

However, not all golf courses are perfectly flat and even.  If you can keep your ball in the fairway, your chances are pretty good that you will get a lie that is flat and even.  Some fairways will slope from one side to the other.  Some will have gentle hills that go up and down.  The reality is many times you will find your ball on a side hill, uphill or even a downhill lie.    Hmmmm ….. didn’t practice this shot at the driving range.

Well, have no fear.  These shots are not so intimidating. 

Let’s take a moment and go over the things you have to do to pull off this shot.
Let’s start with Side Hill lies: 

If the ball is above your feet you will need to aim to the right (for right handers) of your target line as the ball will go left from this lie.  How far left is dependent upon how severe the side hill lie is.  The greater the slope, the more left it will go.  The greater the slope, the more to the right you must aim.  One more thing, if the ball is above your feet the ball will be closer to your hands thus you will have to choke down on the club or choose a shorter club. 

If the ball is below your feet you will need to aim to the left (for right handers) of your target line as the ball will go right from this lie.  The severity of the slope will determine how far right the ball will go.  Additionally, because the ball is below your feet you may want to widen your stance and make sure you stay down throughout the execution of this shot. 

What about Uphill or Downhill lies:
When faced with an uphill lie the first thing you must do is determine if you need an extra club.  As an example; you are 150 yards out and you normally hit a 7 iron. You must be aware that your 7 iron will launch higher because of the uphill lie and therefore won’t carry the 150 yards.  For this reason you may have to hit a 6 iron.  Your shoulders need to match the slope of the hill and you will have to position the ball a bit more forward in your stance to compensate for the slope.

On a downhill lie you must determine if a lesser club is required to carry the distance needed.  Using the example above, your 7 iron will launch lower because of the downhill lie and carry further than the distance needed.  In this case you would choose an 8 iron to get the higher launch.  Make sure your shoulders match the slope of the lie and position the ball a bit farther back in your stance.

Uphill, downhill and side hill lies don’t have to be that intimidating if you just take a moment and think it through.  I hope this helps you understand what problem each different lie presents and the way to solve the problem.

Woody Boyer
(717) 319-8501


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