Keep your balance on downhill lies – Brief Article
Nothing tests shot-making better than a ball that’s on a slope. Whether it’s a downhill, uphill or sidehill lie, the keys are (1) not letting the lie intimidate you and (2) hitting the ball solid.
One of the most difficult shots in golf is a downhill lie to an elevated green. The 18th hole at Southern Hills is a prime example. Holding that green at last year’s U.S. Open with a middle- or long-iron proved dicey for some of the shorter hitters.
Just as menacing is a downhill lie to a green with water waiting to swallow a shot that’s short or long. That’s what you faced with your second shot at Augusta National’s No. 15 when you drove it over the hill. Even when you lay up on that hole, you then stand over one of the scariest short-iron approaches in golf.
The downhill lie requires some precision and steady nerves. If you work hard
to acquire the one, the other will come naturally.
Tiger Woods writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest.
RELATED ARTICLE: Swing down the slope and stay under control
I have a very simple swing thought when I’m faced with a downhill lie: Swing down the slope. That’s critical for proper execution and good contact. The swing begins with a wide stance, which lowers my center of gravity and eliminates the feeling that I have to go down and get the ball. I position the ball back in my stance a little to promote crisp, ball-first contact. I also shorten my backswing some for control. Because the slope causes the club to deloft, I take less club and swing smoothly. That helps me get a little more air under the ball. Most amateurs swing too hard, let gravity pull them down the slope and lose their balance. This usually results in a mis-hit.
Avoid trying to pick the ball off the grass, because you’ll most likely top it. Keep a stable lower body and swing under control. That combination will increase your success rate on downhill lies.
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