Help with Hilly Lies
Many people wonder why they hit the ball so well on the range, but have trouble striking solid shots on the golf course. One simple reason is the different types of lies and hills you must play from on most courses. The driving range is stress free, allowing you to place the ball on a good lie with a pretty level stance. Here are some tips for approaching the different stances you may encounter during a round of golf.
With an uneven lie use a wider stance to help maintain better balance. For an uphill lie, align your shoulders to match the slope (back shoulder lower than front). Move the ball slightly ahead of your normal position. Remember, the slope of the hill adds loft to your golf club, so take at least one extra club, and use a shorter swing.
Downhill lies are just the opposite of an uphill shot. You will again benefit from a wider stance, and aligning your shoulders to match the slope (front shoulder lower than back). Move the ball slightly back from your normal position. The slope of the hill de-lofts your golf club so the ball will fly lower. Finish the swing with a lower, shorter follow through to avoid trying to help the ball up in the air.
Side hill lies require you to adjust your posture more than your shoulders. When the ball is above your feet, move your hands down the grip and get taller with your posture. Try to make your swing slightly flatter, or more around you. Make sure to stay in your posture and not dip down towards the ball. Your ball flight will tend to be a draw or a slight pull due to the hill.
When the ball is below your feet, use a wider stance and flex your knees to get closer to the ball. The hill can easily push you off balance, so make a shorter swing than normal. The ball flight will tend to be a fade or fly slightly away from you.
Balance is very important to strike the ball solid from a hilly lie. It is also tough to fight gravity with uphill and downhill shots, so do the best you can with your weight shift. This is why I recommend making a smaller or smoother swing to hit the ball when you have a difficult stance on the golf course.