Hello and welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. This week we’re going to take a look into sloping lies. Most of us play golf on courses with some undulation and understanding how the ball flight might change from different lies is crucial. Most of us practice on a driving range with a flat mat so this is something that gets overlooked regularly and can be difficult to practice. Even just an understanding of the principles can help so next time you end up on a sloping lie you’re not shocked by the result.
There can be lots of different ways the ball can come to rest as you set up to it. You can have an uphill, lie, downhill lie, ball above your feet, ball below your feet, and various combinations of the aforementioned. Having a stance that isn’t flat can lead to different feelings in balance at set up and during the swing as well as changes in swing dynamics. I have done a video to show the different types of lies. I will explain some of the common mistakes I see and how to potentially play some of the shots as well as the changes in ball flight to expect.
When playing from an uphill lie I see people trying to fight against the slope. They try to lean into the slope and hit it like a normal shot. This means that the club is moving very steep into the ground not only causing problems with the strike but increasing the chance on injury.
You want to try and set your hips and shoulders the same way as they would be on a normal lie but in relation to the slope. So for example if there was a 10% incline your body would also be leaning 10% away from the target. This means more weight will be leaning into the back foot so sometimes people lose their balance backwards during the swing thinning or topping the ball. This also makes it easier to rotate the clubface so a small pull or hook could potentially be expected Try to stay centred and balanced during the swing and accept that ball will come out higher so potentially choose one club more than usual and aim just a fraction right to allow for the extra clubface rotation.
Opposite to an uphill lie but the same problems occur. People try to lean into the back foot and fight against the slope. This often means making contact with the ground before the ball. If you go with the slope and lose your balance towards the target you can also thin or top the ball as well as leaving the clubface open behind you. There is a greater chance of missing the target right so aim a little left. Try to get the weight into the lead foot with the body again leaning in relation to the slope. The ball is likely to come out lower so potentially choose a more lofted club for more control and higher flight.
When the ball is above the feet the plane of the swing can become flatter. This means the club swing more around the body like a baseball swing. This could increase clubface rotation meaning the ball is more likely to shape right to left through the air. Aim a little more right to compensate for this flatter plane and trust the swing. There is a chance that the weight will move back towards the heels during the swing so there is a slight chance of a strike closer to the toe. Try to stay balanced without pulling away from the ball to find a more centred strike.
When the ball is below the feet the plane can become steeper. This means the club will be chopping down into the ball more. This means there could be more of a left to right curvature so aiming a little left is a good idea here. The chances are you will lose balance through the toes moving the strike location towards the heel of the club. This can cause the dreaded sh*nks so try to stay as balanced as possible. Swinging it at full speed isn’t a good idea here or for any other sloping lie. Make some practice swings and see if you can keep balance then try to hit the ball.
Sloping lies are difficult to execute but the likelihood is we’re all going to face them during a round of golf. Understanding the principles and then practicing them on the course is crucial when it comes to improving. Even if you don’t hit a good shot from a sloping lie try to use it as experience so the next time you’re in that position you don’t make the same mistake.
If you would like to learn more about sloping lies and practice them during a lesson on the short game area get yourself booked in.
Good luck on the course!