Uphill & Downhill Lies

Posted on Posted in Tips

In my previous tips, I spoke about awkward lies and how to play a shot with the ball above or below your feet. Playing a shot off an uphill and downhill lie requires a similar approach. To be able to execute these types of shots depends mainly on two principles that being:

  • To maintain your balance, rhythm and timing throughout the swing
  • To swing along the angle of the slope.

With uphill lies, this is probably the easiest of all the shots from sloping lies, because there’s a sense of being able to launch the ball into air. The launch angle would therefore be higher which means you can afford to take one or two more clubs, for instance a 5 iron instead of a 7 iron. The effect on the ball flight will usually be right to left with hook spin on it due to the effect the slope. The main thing to remember is that when you set up to the ball, try and set the angle of your shoulders to the angle of the slope so your shoulders are parallel to the hill. Your front/left foot should be flaired to aid in body rotation during the swing. Make a smooth, balanced swing, trying to make your swing follow the slope. The key is to try and get your weight onto your front foot as early in the swing as possible almost as though you intend to walk up the slope after hitting the shot.

The keys for uphill lies:

  • Shoulders match the level of the slope
  • Front foot of stance must be flaired
  • Take more club
  • Swing and rotate the body with the slope
  • Smooth (three quarter) balanced swing
  • Align yourself to the right to allow for a right to left ball flight

The downhill lie tends to be a little bit more challenging than the uphill lie in that the ball tends to go lower, usually hitting the ground sooner than a normal shot and often slicing to the right. As with the uphill shot the spine should be set as close to perpendicular to the slope as is normal. The amount of weight favouring the lower foot will be determined by the severity of the slope. The front foot of the stance should also be flared which will help the swing follow the slope. Depending on the severity of the slope, select one ore two clubs shorter than normal since the ball will shoot off the downhill lie with a lower more penetrating trajectory.

The keys for downhill lies:

  • Shoulders match the level of the slope
  • Front foot of stance must be flaired
  • Take less club
  • Swing with the slope
  • Smooth, balanced swing
  • Align yourself to the left to allow for a left to right ball flight

Never fight the effect the slope – just go with it. Remember take more club on an upslope and less club on a downslope.