Golf: How To Hit From A Downhill Lie

Golf: How To Hit From A Downhill Lie

Our golfing expert helps you conquer the downhill lie when you come across it in your golf game.

Step 1: The Set-up

Place the club head behind the ball and set up with your feet wider apart than normal, to increase the stability of your stance on the slope.
The ball should usually be in the same position as for a normal shot, slightly in front of the middle of your stance.
If the slope is very steep, it is easy to hit the club into the ground behind the ball.
In this case, have the ball further back in your stance, where it is easier to make a good contact.

Step 2: The body position

Once you have set up, lower your left shoulder until your shoulders are parallel with the slope.
From this position, your swing will travel with the slope and make a clean contact with the ball, rather than hitting into the slope behind it.
Leaning your shoulders with the slope puts more weight onto your left foot in the set-up - about 60% for a gentle slope; more so on a steeper hill, on which you lean further to the left.

Step 3: The swing

Like in a normal swing, rotate your body around its spinal axis.
Because of the slope, your weight stays on your left foot throughout the swing rather than shifting from one foot to the other.
As the downhill slope makes the ball fly lower than normal, add a number on to your club. For example, use an 8 iron instead of a 7 iron.
If in addition the green is below you, add two numbers to your club, as the ball will fly further than normal.
Aim to the left of the target on a downhill lie.
The ball tends to fly to the right from a downhill slope because having your weight on your left foot makes it easy to end up with your body in front of the ball at impact.
See our video "why we slice the ball" for more information.
So choose the correct club, set up with the slope, and aim to the left of the target to land nicely on the green.