Of all the shots from uneven lies the downhill lie shot may be the most challenging. This comes in part from the fact that your two feet and the ball all rest on different levels on the ground. But also because the loft of the club is reduced, sending the ball on a lower trajectory. That is if you manage to actually hit the ball and transfer your weight properly. Read the full tips below on how to hit a golf shot from a downslope. Or alternatively, head over to our tips for how to hit from an uphill lie.
Account for the fact your front foot is lower than your back and that ball will fly lower than normal (and roll more).
Position the Ball Back a Little
The downhill lie situation provides a fertile ground for all sorts of mishits. From thin shots that barely get up in the air to whiffs that miss the ball entirely, you will have to take precautions in order to help your chances of producing a good contact with the ball. Placing the ball too far forward will increase the risk that your club won’t stay down long enough to make good contact with the ball, rising back up at release and catching the top of the ball. Consequently, position the ball back of center, or slightly further back than it normally would be.
Take a Wider Stance
As with other shots from uneven lies one of the main challenges will be in keeping balance. In order to promote a stable foundation for your golf swing take a wider stance than you normally would. A wider stance will allow for the next setup adjustment to be made without fear that you will lose your balance mid-swing.
More on: Stance (narrow, normal, wide)
Match the Slope of the Hill with your Shoulders
If you were to set up normally and position your spine perfectly vertical you may find it very difficult to complete your swing without seeing your club striking the ground before making contact with the ball. Depending on how steep the downslope it may be downright impossible to complete a golf swing without tweaking your setup. For best results, tilt your body forward until the line formed between your shoulders is parallel to the ground. Of course, certain downslope angles may be too severe to allow for that without falling forward but try to match the slope with your shoulders up to the point where imbalance will become an issue.
More on: Spine angle at address
Use One Less Club
Your tweaking your setup in the previous step will have consequences on the ball flight produced with your club. Indeed, leaning forward will close the effective loft of your club, lowering the ball flight and producing a shot that will see the ball roll more upon landing as a result. In order to counter for that reality, pick one less club than you normally would. So if the distance would call for a 5-iron, pick a 6-iron instead. The added loft will make the ball travel a little higher but the roll distance should produce a shot that resembles a 5-iron shot from a flat lie.
More on: How loft affects ball flight