Some of the toughest shots to learn how to perform properly are those from sidehill lies. There are many compensations you must make to ensure you keep your ball on the proper line. Take a look below at the 5 essential steps needed to hit balls that lie above your feet, and learn the fundamentals that will help you on all sorts of lies out on the course.
It goes without saying that a ball above your feet means the club will be resting higher than normal – to compensate you will need to choke down on the grip. Couple this with standing taller, our next tip, and you should be able to get the club resting squarely on the slope. If you don’t choke down, only the toe of your club will be resting on ground – if you swing into impact, with this positioning your call contact will suffer significantly.
Stand Nice & Tall
As you can see from the picture, my spine is only at a slight angle, it is much more upright than it would be for a normal level shot. It is very important that throughout your swing, you retain this spine angle, its one of the biggest factors that affects impact consistency. By standing taller, you can negate the fact that the ball is above your feet… and your swing should feel a little more normal and balanced.
A ball above your feet will encourage a shot that moves from right to left. A ball below your feet will do the exact opposite and encourage a left to right shot. A quick way to check how a slope affects your ball flight is to hold a tee on your clubface and place it squarely on various slopes. The tee will point in the direction your ball will tend to fly at impact.
Flatter Swing Path
When you setup to the ball, you’ll want the clubs sole to match the slope squarely. To ensure it stays this way during impact you must swing more baseball-like / horizontally to do so. This will encourage a hooked shot, but you have already allocated for this by aiming to the right.
Stability of Your Lower Body
Contact is key on shots from uneven lies – therefore stability during your swing is paramount. Much like a fairway bunker shot, a stable lower body and spine angle is imperative. Keep in mind a stable lower body will reduce your ability to swing with much power – so I’d recommend up-clubbing so you can swing smoothly and in control.
Affect Exaggerated for Shorter Irons
Something to remember, the shorter the iron, the more the slope will influence the initial direction of your shot. If you were to try the tee drill again, but this time with a wedge compared of a 5-iron, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in where the tee points. The 5-iron won’t point nearly as far left as your wedge. Keep this in mind.
Finally, practice as often as you can, learning to hit from uneven lies is a great asset to the rest of your game. With practice you’ll even find your ball contact improving on all shots from all lies.