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Golf – How to Hit Uphill and Downhill Lies

One of the challenges of actually playing golf on a real course vs. simply practicing your golf swing at the range is that you will often find your golf ball in more challenging situations. But that's what makes the game of golf fun and exciting.

Two of the most common, but misunderstood golf strokes, and possibly the most intimidating challenges, are the uphill and downhill golf shots. Let's break them down and make them easy for you!

UPHILL LIES

Golf Ball Will Veer Left: When the golf ball lands in a position that is above the level of your feet, the angle of the shot will cause the golf ball to veer to the left. So you should aim a little to the right. Be sure to also turn your body slightly right of your target.

Golf Ball Will Fly Shorter: An uphill shot will also cause the ball to fly shorter. So take more club than you normally would. If you'd normally use a 7-iron, take a 6 or a 5-iron instead. If you use hybrid clubs, pick one with the appropriate loft & distance. How far up the hill you are will determine the amount of the extra club you'll need.

Your Stance: Adapt your stance to fit the circumstances. Work with the slope. In other words, align your shoulders parallel with the slope. Your left foot will be lower than your right foot. So your left shoulder should also lower than your right shoulder. When taking your stance, make sure your ball is slightly to the left of center.

Your Golf Swing: Use your normal swing, but with your weight more on your left foot and more on your toes than normal. Your golf ball will be closer to you when you're in an uphill lie position. So grip lower down the golf club shaft to compensate for the swing arch. Remember, your swing will remain the same – only your setup and club choice will change to adapt for the hill.

DOWNHILL LIES:

Sometimes you'll find yourself in a position to play on a downhill lie. Many find this a harder shot to play. But if you remember to simply reverse your "hill" strategy, you'll do just fine.

Golf Ball Will Veer Right: A downhill shot has a tendency to slice the ball as your swing plane is more upright. Allow for this by aiming slowly to the left of your target. Be sure you slant your body with the slope.

Golf Ball Will Fly Lower: If the ball lands below your feet level, the angle of the shot will cause the ball to fly lower. To compensate, choose a club higher than you normally would. For instance, if you usually play a 7-iron, take an 8 or a 9-iron instead, depending on the distance you need to reach.

Your Stance: Use your normal stance, but lean your weight more on your right foot. Your weight should be at the front of your feet to maintain balance. Make sure the golf ball is a little to the right of center when taking your stance. Again, work with the hill. Your right shoulder will be lower than your left, so your body will be perpendicular to the slope.

Your Golf Swing: You can use your normal swing, but because the golf ball is lower, you'll find your weight settling on your right foot. With the ball slightly lower, you may have to choke up on the club shaft to avoid hitting the ground on your backswing. Depending on the depth of the hill, you may also need to use a little more hinge in your wrists.

Always, always take a practice golf swing to check your setup. This is particularly important on a hill lie.