Facing a shot below your feet? Master the technique with this step-by-step guide

A woman hits a golf shot in Arizona, Gold Canyon Golf Resort

Use these simple keys to hit a ball below your feet.

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Despite the hours we spend at the range, it’s easy to forget that hitting a shot from a completely flat or level lie is a rarity during a round of golf. You’ll likely face a lot of shots from sidehill lies, as well as above and below your feet.

Tackling these shots requires some strategic changes to your regular setup, and GOLF Teacher to Watch Jonathan Buchanan has a step-by-step guide to help you master the common on-course conundrum of hitting a ball below your feet.

How to hit a shot below your feet

1. Aim left

“If you’re right-handed, a ball below your feet is going to want to go to the right,” Buchanan says. “So you need to aim a bit left.”

2. Play the ball forward

“Since we know this lie wants to leak to the right, playing it a touch forward can help,” Buchanan says.

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3. Get closer to the ball

“Because the ball is below your feet, it’s going to be a bit farther from you than normal,” Buchanan says. “So you need to set up closer to the ball than normal.”

4. “Cheat” the clubface

“Play for the miss,” Buchanan says. “Aim a little left, and ‘cheat’ the clubface, meaning close it a touch, or aim it a little more left at setup.”

5. Employ maximum stability

“I like to see players dig in with their heels a little bit, off-setting the slope with your weight,” Buchanan says. “With a ball below your feet, it’s easy to get out toward your toes, and if you do that, the ball will go right, and we’re already trying to combat that tendency with this lie.”

Club selection is another thing to be conscious of. Attempting a 3-wood isn’t going to be your best bet from this lie.

“Go with something with loft,” Buchanan says. “Loft is always going to be your friend with lies like these. You don’t have to hit a hero shot.”

Jonathan Buchanan is the founder of City Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, and one of GOLF’s 2024-25 Teachers to Watch.

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