How to dominate downhill lies

November 1, 2018

Finding your ball on an uneven (in this case, downhill) lie after a great drive may be frustrating, but if you want to score well, some minor adjustments to your setup and swing can turn these obstacles into opportunities. Here’s how to capitalize on a tough situation.


With a club in hand, take your address position, but move the ball an inch forward of where you’d normally play it. Now check to see that you’ve done it correctly — hold the butt end of your club against your chin and align the clubshaft with the buttons on your shirt. If the shaft points at the ball rather than in front of it, you’re good to go.


Now take the club back along the slope. Because the ground behind the ball is higher than the ground in front of it, your backswing will have to be much steeper than usual to clear the ground behind the ball. This is normal. As you bring the club to the top, keep your weight balanced between your feet — the last thing you want to do here is either lean into the hill or strand your weight on your front foot. You’re trying to swing with the slope.


Stay balanced and even with the slope as you swing down, and make sure to open your hips (that is, turn them toward the target) as you move through impact. If you don’t, you may very well plant the club in the ground behind the ball.