Flo Masciadrelli approaches a downhill lie with shoulders adjusted to match the slope, and her weight shifted to her lower leg.

Most sports that we play are on level surfaces. Consider tennis, pickleball and basketball, to name a few. Golf, however, is not played on flat ground. Most golfers practice their golf swings on a flat driving range and don’t know how to adjust for hilly, uneven lies.

When you get on the golf course, you will need to know how to adjust for the uneven lies. I recommend going out on the golf course when it isn’t busy and practicing some of the shots I have listed below. 

If you don’t practice these shots then you won’t be able to execute them when you are playing for score. If you can’t practice on the course, then get a pool noodle and use it on the driving range. Place it under one foot at a time for uphill and downhill lies, and under your heels and toes for a ball above and below.

Here are the four different types of uneven lies and the adjustments you need to make when they occur on the golf course. They are described for the right-handed golfer.

Uphill lie:

• The ball should be played closer to your higher foot at address

• Adjust your shoulders to match the slope

• Keep more weight at address on your rear foot to help you swing up the slope

• Take one more club because you will hit the ball higher off this uphill lie

• Adjust your aim because you will tend to go left from uphill lies

Downhill lie:

• Adjust your shoulders to match the slope

• Set-up with your weight more on your front leg which is lower than your back leg

• Ball position should be at your higher foot which is your back foot

• Take less club because the hill de-lofts the clubface at impact, causing the ball to go lower

• Aim left of target since the ball tends to go right at impact

Ball below your feet (sidehill):

• Weight should be on your heels

• Keep knees flexed throughout the swing with rear end into the slope (squat)

• Take one more club since the ball will tend to go to the right and loose distance

• Body turn will be restricted on this shot making it a hands and arms swing

Ball above your feet:

• Stand taller and closer to the ball

• Grip down an inch to accommodate the shorter reach to the ball

• Take less club because ball will tend to hook and go lower

• Use a flatter, baseball-type, swing that is more around your body

Practicing uneven lies can be fun and very helpful when you have to hit a shot from an uneven lie during your next round of golf.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com