By John Green
Here is the first article of a monthly series I will be writing this year. The original title of was going to be “Trouble Shots”. Upon further review of the topics I am going to write about, I realized these aren’t necessarily “trouble shots”, but shots that you come across every time you play: in a fairway bunker, stuck behind a tree or have a fast downhill putt are a few examples. To me, trouble shots are the ones that you hit in the water, or out of bounds, or missing that putt that you needed to make. Those are the ones that cause YOU trouble. You might hit the most perfect drive of your life and the ball happens to hit a sprinkler head and roll behind that tree just off the fairway. That is what golf is all about and hence the title of this series: “That’s Golf”.
This month, we’ll look into the most common “That’s Golf” shot you will have on the course: uphill and downhill lies.
The problem that vexes golfers on uphill/downhill lies is where to place the ball. As a general rule, the lowest point of a swing is somewhere near the middle of the stance. This is where the club will “bottom out”. Ball placement on a level lie should be somewhere near the middle of the stance, or ever so slightly behind as I am showing here in picture #1. That way the club will hit the ball, then bottom out just in front of it.
On an uphill lie, the low point of the swing becomes near the front foot, so this is where you play the ball as shown in picture #2. Also keep in mind that you just added loft to your club so you may need to go one club lower to offset the increase in loft.
Conversely, a downhill hill lie needs a ball position near the back foot because that has become the low point as shown in picture #3. And, you will need to go up one club since the club now has less loft.
This year when you are on the course and find yourself in an uphill or downhill lie, just remember this simple rule: Always play the ball towards your highest foot.
Let’s make 2016 your best year in golf. And make it happen with help from your local PGA or LPGA Golf Professional.