Most golfers learn to swing the club on a golf range and are not used to the different type of shots they encounter on the course. Some of the most difficult shots in golf are from sidehill lies. When the golf ball is either above or below your feet, or even on an uphill or downhill lie, maintaining balance is a must. If you can achieve balance in your set up and maintain this throughout the swing, your ball striking will improve on these shots.
Side hill lies come in two varieties. The first is where the ball is above your feet and the second when the ball is below your feet. The first thing to understand is that the ball will generally move in the direction of the slope. This means that if the ball is above your feet, then the ball will move right-to-left. If the ball is below your feet, then the ball will move left-to-right. The greater the severity the slope, the greater the movement of the ball will be in that direction. Balance at address and throughout the swing should be of the highest priority.
In both of these situations we want to use our same fundamentally solid golf swing, but we need to make a few adjustments in order to pull these shots off. Let’s begin by looking at a shot in which the ball is above your feet. First of all, we know the shot is going to move right-to-left off the slope so we have to aim ourselves to the right of the target. Again, the amount of aim to the right depends on the severity of the slope. There is a slight adjustment in the stance whereby your toes will need to become more flaired. This will help to stabilise the lower body resulting in balanced swing. The swing should be made as normal as possible, one needs to realise that the arms will swing more across the body than normal, producing a more rounded motion. To counteract this, an earlier turn of the right side of the body may be needed.
The second type of shot is one in which the ball is below your feet. Again, we need to make a few adjustments in our setup to hit this shot solidly. First of all, we know that the ball is going to move left-to-right, so we need to aim ourselves to the left of the target. Next, we are going to have to make sure we have some extra tilt in our spine angle in order to reach down to the ball and stay down through the shot. There will also be an adjustment to the stance, this time your toes will now be flaired inward, once again to ensure you have a stable balanced lower body. The one thing we need to feel during the shot itself is that our swing should be a little more of an up and down motion .If we perform these few moves, our shot should start left of the target and move to the right towards the target.
The main key to successfully hitting any side hill lie is that once you are set in your posture, you must maintain your balance and spine angle during the swing. A good tip when playing these shots is to swing 75% (three quarters) of your full swing which will help you to maintain rhythm, timing and balance.