How to Hit the Golf Ball on Hill Lies - dummies

By Gary McCord

Not many golf courses are flat. Every now and again, you need to hit a shot off a slope. The ball may be below or above your feet. Both positions are sidehill lies. Or you may be halfway up or down a slope.

When you’re faced with any or all of these situations, you need to make an adjustment. The common factor in all these shots is the relationship between your shoulders and the slope.

Sidehill lies require an adjustment so you can stay balanced:

  • If the ball is above your feet: You have to lean a little into the hill to keep your balance. If you stood at your normal posture to the upslope of the hill, you’d fall backward. You’re close to the ball because of the lean, and you need to choke up on the club.

  • With the ball below your feet: Lean back more to retain your balance on the downslope. Because you’re leaning back, you’re a little farther away from the ball; grip the club all the way to the end and use the whole length of the shaft.

For uphill and downhill lies, it’s a little different:

  • The ball needs to go uphill: Because your left leg is higher than your right, your weight naturally shifts to your right leg. Let that weight shift happen so your shoulders are parallel to the slope of the hill.


  • The ball needs to go downhill: On a downslope, your weight shifts in the opposite direction, onto your left leg. Again, let that weight shift happen. Keep your shoulders and the banister parallel.


Finally, follow these three rules:

  • Adjust your aim when you’re on a slope. Off a downslope or when the ball is below your feet, aim to the left of where you want the ball to finish. Off an upslope or when the ball is above your feet, aim right.

  • Factor in ball position. Play the ball back toward the middle of your stance if you’re on a downhill lie or forward, off your left big toe, from an uphill lie.

  • Use the right club. Take more club (a club that has less loft) if you’re on an uphill lie because the ball tends to fly higher. Use less club (a club that has more loft) from a downhill lie because the ball has a lower trajectory.

    Swing about 75 percent of your normal swing speed to keep your balance. Practice with different clubs from different lies to get a feel for these shots.