How To Play Sloping Lies
Improve your golf scores by playing great shots from those annoying sloping lies.
Shoot lower scores by understanding how to play off uneven ground
Whilst hitting a good golf shot off flat ground is sometimes difficult, for many golfers it becomes impossible when the ball somehow finds an awkward lie on a slope “where is gravity when you need it most ?”. The first step towards mastering this shot is to find a practice area with the appropriate sloping ground and as most golf superintendents try to build practice grounds flat this is not always that easy. Invariably if you go to the front , back or sides of the practice range you should find the necessary slopes. It is here we begin.
We will deal with the four most common golf shots off uneven ground; the upslope, the downslope, ball below our feet and ball above our feet. In playing any of these golf shots there are three fundamentals you must remember . Firstly always adjust your ALLIGNMENT to suit the slope, (I will deal with this at each shot type) always use a three quarter or EASY swing and most important maintain your BALANCE. In each of the explanations below you can choose to do all of the adjustments suggested or try only one or two at a time and practice to find out what works best for you. All these shots and many more can be found in our golf video series 72 lessons from beginner to winner. Check them out I’m sure you will have hours of fun and learning!
How to play golf shots of various sloping lies
THE UPHILL SHOT
In playing the uphill shot under normal conditions you will lose distance therefore select a longer (less lofted) golf club. In executing this type of golf shot there is a tendency to leave your weight on the back foot which will cause a ‘pull’ or ‘draw’ shot . When addressing the ball allow for this by aligning to the right of your target (left for left handers). In order to help maintain your balance use a wider stance than normal, and tilt your spine towards your back foot. Ideally try to get your spine angle perpendicular to the slope. Play the ball towards the front foot to promote a ‘sweeping’ action or shallow angle of attack on the ball.
Finally before playing the shot consider the wind. From an uphill lie your ball flight will generally be higher than normal thus if you have a reasonably strong tail wind your ball is likely to fly farther than expected thus requiring a lesser club selection . On the other hand if the wind is against you, then due to the added height of ball flight your shot will not go as far thus requiring a longer club selection.
THE DOWNHILL SHOT
With the downhill shot your ball flight will be lower than usual and when it lands it will roll more than normal . Allow for this by selecting a shorter (more lofted) club and play a shot which does not require you to carry over to much trouble. In executing this type of shot their is a tendency to slide forward early in the swing . This early transference of weight onto the front foot will tend to cause a ‘push’ or ‘fade’ shot . When addressing the ball allow for this by aligning to the left of your target (right for left handers). As in the uphill shot, to help maintain your balance use a wider stance than normal but with weight more on the front foot. Your spine should be tilted towards your front foot, ideally to get your spine angle perpendicular to the slope. Finally in order to limit your risk of hitting before the golf ball due to the slope, position the ball back in your stance. This set-up will help to promote a steeper angle of attack on the ball which is necessary to hitting a good downhill shot. In addition to the set-up, to help achieve the steep angle of attack in the swing try to feel as though you pick the golf club up sharply and return it to the ball on a similar path.
BALL ABOVE YOUR FEET
With the ball above your feet the tendency when swinging is for your weight to be back on your heels. This promotes the ‘pull’ shot and the golf ball will have a drawing flight. When addressing the ball allow for this by aligning to the right of your target (left for left handers).
It is possible to reduce the chance of ‘pulling’ the shot by moving ball position back in your stance. Whilst this will reduce the pull shot it is a method that does require practice and for most golfers it would be preferable to adjust their alignment.
In addressing this shot try to stand as tall or upright as possible and promote the movement of your weight towards the toes of your feet. In addition to balance the slope of the ground try narrowing the width of your stance, reducing the flex in your knees and then tilt less in the waist/hips. You can also grip down lower on the club you are using as this will help you to stay balanced through the golf shot Remember if you are gripping down on the club the ball will not fly as far and therefore you may require a longer less lofted club.
BALL BELOW YOUR FEET
With the ball below your feet the tendency when swinging is for your weight to move into your toes. This promotes the ‘push’ shot and the ball will have a slicing flight. When addressing the ball allow for this by aligning to the left of your target ( right for left handers).
It is possible to reduce the effect of the ball being below your feet by adjusting your set-up but I would always advise the club golfer to allow for the ball to fade.
In order to reduce the effect of the golf ball being below your feet you may first choose to change your address. To play this golf shot try to lower your centre of gravity, the further below your feet the ball is the lower you must try to get.This can be achieved by widening the width of your stance and increasing, the flex in your knees and the tilt in your waist/hips.This give you a distinct feeling of sitting or squatting down. In addition grip the club at the extreme of its length, you can if comfortable allow the butt (end) of the grip to move into the pad of your left hand (right hand for left handers). At times this shot may require you to use a longer (less lofted) club than usual in order to reach the ball. In this situation allow for the extra club by using only a three quarter or easy swing. A good swing thought whilst playing this shot is to keep the head as still as possible and feel your weight firmly planted towards the heels of your feet.
GOOD LUCK !
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