The Key to Mastering Uneven Lies
Article 1 of 4 - Downhill Lie
Written by Sandra B. Chester, LPGA Teaching Professional
It has been said that there is no such thing in golf as a FLAT lie except on the practice tee. In some ways this may be true; however, there is more to this than meets the eye. For example, let’s examine the following scenario: You are on the first hole and preparing to hit your approach shot to the green. As you address the ball you notice that the ball is below your feet. In other words, you have an uneven lie that is downhill. A downhill lie is a lie where the ball, as it relates to your setup, is below your feet (stance) at address. It also means that the ground, as it relates to your feet (stance) at address, is level. In other words, the ball is below your feet and both feet are level.
The key to mastering an UNEVEN lie is to know how to turn it into a FLAT lie. The answer lies in the “Set Up” position. You must compensate for the lie by adjusting your body appropriately to create balance in the setup. If this is done correctly you will achieve amazing results!
There are four main components to consider when you set up for a downhill lie:
1) Choose a Longer Club: The ball is farther away from you due to the fact that it is below your feet. Holding onto the end of the grip in an attempt to make it “longer” can make it difficult to control the clubface. Choose one more club instead and grip it properly.
2) Place the ball in the CENTER of your stance: When your feet are LEVEL the ball position is below your feet always place the ball in the CENTER rather than forward or back. (Figure 1)
3) Bow Excessively from your HIPS: Body posture is one of the main components of setup and when the ball is below your feet the natural response is to set back on your heels to avoid the feeling of falling forward. It is a must that you override this response and get into a balanced position over the ball by bowing from the hips. (Figure 2)
4) Hold your finish: You can learn a lot about your swing from your finish position and you have the best chance for a positive outcome when you stay in posture through the entire swing. Hold your finish position until the ball lands on the green. (Figure 3 ).
Take some time to try this set up the next time you have a downhill lie....with a little practice you will surely master it!