Do you find yourself struggling when your ball ends up on a slope? Not sure how to stand? The strike desserts you? The ball seems to fire off in the wrong direction. The key to mastering the sloping lies is to best understand how they affect the ball flight, strike and how to best set up to help execute the shot.
Let’s look at the different sloping lies we may encounter on the golf course and how best to approach them.
When the ball is below your feet it causes the clubface to point to the right, in effect it is altering the lie angle of the club and making the golf club flatter. This is known as face plane tilt. Due to this change it will cause the ball start to the right. As the ball is below your feet it is important to grip the club at the top of the grip and flex the knees to help maintain a clean strike. To allow for the change in face angle I would recommend aiming further left to allow for the ball starting further right than usual. To ensure to getting a clean contact try and feel like you can keep the knee flex and a sturdy base throughout the swing.
When the ball is above your feet it will cause the clubface to point left due to the slope making the lie angle more upright which as we now know is face plane tilt. Due to this it is important that we allow for the change in face angle. To help ensure a solid contact I would recommend going down the grip and standing slightly taller to help match the slope. The slope can also cause a little restriction with rotation so it important that we aim right of the intended target for the change in clubface alignment and restriction in rotation.
With the downhill lie many golfers can struggle with the strike for the reason that they don`t adjust to the slope and they also try help the ball in the air which can result in the strike location being behind the ball. When addressing a downhill lie, I would recommend placing most of your weight into your front foot and ensure your shoulders match the angle of the slope to ensure you can hit down the slope and get a clean contact. I would recommend clubbing down here as we tend to de loft the club when adjusting the slope. Acceptance that the ball will come out lower is always good here, and just ensure you stay in your lead side as you play the shot.
Finally with the uphill lie we want to adjust our body to the slope, so our shoulders match it. Due to the change in shoulder tilts, it will cause the ball to go higher and may be worth clubbing up. On the uphill lie it makes it much more difficult to rotate through the ball and easy for the hands to take over, just make sure you aim a little further right than usual to allow for the closing clubface.
As golfers we are all guilty of practicing on flat lies, and generally good ones. Try hitting off different slopes when you practice as you may just need to pull one off coming down the stretch to complete your best score. Let’s be honest golf courses are very rarely perfectly flat so its in our best interest to become better at the cause and affect of them.
Also, a little tip on when you are making a swing change. Make sure you put it under a little stress by practicing on the different sloping lies… it may just help increase the learning speed and transfer to the golf course.