During the average round, it is not very often you will find a perfectly flat lie unless you are playing from the tee. Approach shots to the green are often played from slopes of varying degrees of severity.
To enable you to play good shots from different slopes it is vital that you understand the possible effect of the slope on the flight of the golf ball and how you can change your set up and club selection to accommodate the slope. All adjustments will depend upon the severity of the lie. The more severe the slope, the more it will affect the flight of the golf ball.
BALL BELOW YOUR FEET
• Know your flight
The ball will tend to fly from left to right for a right-hander or right to left for a left-hander. You should alter your body alignment at address accordingly to allow for this.
• Watch your weight
Your weight will tend to be pulled forwards during your swing so set up with a little more knee flex. This will allow you to reach and address the ball, give you more balance throughout the swing, and allow you to maintain posture which is key to a consistent strike.
BALL ABOVE YOUR FEET
• Know your flight
The ball will tend to fly from right to left for a right-hander and left to right for a left-hander.Align your body at address accordingly depending on the severity of the slope.
• Remember your feet!
At address, concentrate on trying to place more pressure in the balls of your feet to prevent your weight falling towards your heels when you are swinging the club. If you swing when on your heels, you’ll lose balance and, in all likelihood, make poor contact with the ball.
THE UPHILL SHOT
When you are faced with an uphill shot, remember that the ball will tend to fly higher than normal, so take more club and allow for it landing from a greater height. At address, align your shoulders at the same angle as the slope, as I’m doing here. This means your club will track up the slope instead of into it. Also, place the ball slightly further forward than normal to prevent the leading edge of the club digging into the slope after impact. Last of all, widen your stance to provide more stability and balance. This will help you strike the ball better and with more consistency and accuracy, too.
THE DOWNHILL SHOT
Hitting downhill, the ball will tend to fly lower than normal so take less club and allow for the ball landing from a lower height. You’ll also get more run that normal. At address align your shoulders at the same angle as the slope, as I’m doing here. This will ensure your club tracks down the slope instead of into it. Position the golf ball slightly further back in the stance than you would usually to increase the likelihood of a good strike and, as with an uphill lie, widen your stance for more stability and balance.
Gavin Abson is the Head PGA Professional at Paisley Golf Club. For lessons, call Gavin on 07967 206266. Follow him on Twitter @GavinAbsonGolf