Downhill lies

Published 19/09/2009 08:00:12

The downhill lie is generally a more awkward shot than the uphill lie for most players. It is always a little scary to have your back foot above your front foot, especially at the top of the backswing, where you may tend to lose balance.


How to play a downhill lie


How do you compensate for the slope? The first thing to remember is that the lie will deloft the clubhead, which will mean that you will hit the ball lower and further than normal. So take at least one less club.

Then think about the effect on the spin imparted to the ball. From a downhill lie, you will generally hit the ball with a fade, or left-to-right flight path. So aim more to the left allow the ball to fade. Do not try to fight it.


Follow the slope


In lining up, let your shoulders follow the line of the slope. Take an open stance, playing the ball further back because the club will come into contact with the ground sooner than on a level ground surface.


When you visualise the shot, remember that it will fly lower and have less backspin, so the ball will run further on its approach. Think about how it will land, kick and run on, and remember that it will work from left to right and kick in.


Picturing the shot always helps when playing from awkward lies. If you see a positive outcome and believe in the shot, that will go a long way towards helping you to hit it properly. But many players allow themselves to be put off by the situation, and that is the beginning of the end. They will certainly not play the shot well because they will lack the mental confidence to do so.


Focus back


The downhill lie also poses more problems in terms of keeping your balance. You are definitely looking more at a three-quarter swing, with the weight tending to stay on your front foot when you take your backswing. You should accept that you will not get much weight transfer, which will shorten your swing anyway.


The follow-through will be fairly straightforward, but you must make sure that you do not move ahead of the ball. It's easy to allow your head to drift too far forward when playing from this type of lie.


1.  Downhill shots are difficult for me as I try to finesse the ball too much around the green. Using a 60* wedge to drop the club on the ball from a 9 o'clock position makes good sense to hit a soft "bump" shot that will not run excessively on the green.

comment by Denny - 20/10/2012 01:24

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