Anyone who has played golf on a hilly course before will have found himself facing an uneven lie. Indeed, while the practice range always provides a flat surface you get all sorts of uneven lies when you are actually playing the game. Review our tips below for instructions on how to hit a shot when the ball is located below your feet, or in other words when your feet are higher than the ball on a sidehill. Looking for the opposite scenario? Then head over to our guide for how to hit a golf shot when the ball is above your feet.
Avoid the risk of hitting it thin or right of the target
Get Into a Stable Position
One of the first challenges you’ll face when setting up for this shot will be with regards to your balance. Depending on how steep the sidehill is you may find it very tricky to actually make contact with the ball while maintaining your balance throughout the swing. In order to provide a stable base for your swing, make sure that the bulk of your weight is located towards your heels. Doing so will ground you, more than if you were to stand with your weight towards your toes which could lead to your falling forward.
Widen your Stance
A simple change in the width of your stance can have dramatic effects on both your stability while also bringing you closer to the ball. Indeed, make sure to widen your stance a little bit when the ball is lower than your feet. A wider stance will give you more stability and will lower the bottom of the swing arc slightly, bringing you closer to the ball and helping in promoting a clean contact with the ball.
Bend your Knees More
Since the ball is considerably lower than it normally would be you will need to bend your knees more than usual as well. While this new setup might feel weird at first you’ll need to make sure to keep that awkward knee flex constant throughout your swing. Indeed, reducing that knee flex mid-swing will raise the bottom of the swing arc, leading to thinning the ball, or whiffing it entirely. So at address, make sure that the bend in your knees allow for the club to rest behind the ball and that you will be able to perform your takeaway – and swing – comfortably without the shaft of your club bumping into your legs.
Use One More Club and Swing Smoothly
Since you’ll work hard to maintain balance during the course of your golf swing you are advised to swing smoothly. This is in contrast to your normal swing speed. When the ball is below your feet, favour a slower and smoother swing instead of going at it with all of your 100%. To make up for the difference in yards travelled, use one more club than you normally would for the distance. This combination of a longer club but with a smoother swing should offset each other and give you the right yardage for the shot at hand.
Aim Left of the Target
Also, you should expect the ball to come out of the club and go to the right slightly, instead of shooting straight ahead. So similarly to a ball above feet situation that would see the ball shooting left after impact, expect a ball below your feet to shoot right after impact. To counter for this phenomenon, aim a little left of the target instead of directly at it.
Swing Along a Steeper Plane
Finally, because of the lower ball position you will also need to modify your swing plane. Instead of using your normal swing, or using a flatter swing, try to use a steeper swing. In a similar way that a flatter swing will work best when the ball is above your feet, a steeper swing will work best when the ball is lower than your feet. Indeed, a more vertical swing will help in getting your club to come down hard and reach the ball below whereas a flatter swing might produce a whiff or a thin shot.