Different Situations...All in the Address

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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In golf there are many difficult shots you can be faced with. Such as, ball above your feet, ball below your feet, uphill lie, or even a downhill lie. What do you do different if you’re faced with one of these four situations?

In approaching an uneven lie, there are many things that you need to take into consideration before striking the ball. The ball flight is going to react different. Your address position and club selection is key in keeping the ball on the golf course.

Remember:  When approaching one of these four situations, these rules apply to all four. A) Several practice swings to feel the situation. B) 75% of maximum effort in your tempo and rhythm. C) 3/4 length in your backswing.
Ball Above Your Feet:
A) Stand further away from the ball. B) Weight over the balls of your feet. C) Less loft to reduce amount of curve on the ball. D) Aim slightly right of your target. E) Choke down slightly.

Ball Below Your Feet:
A) Stand closer to the ball. B) Weight back on the heels. C) Take more loft to reduce amount of slice on the ball. D) Aim slightly left of your target. E) Grip at the end of the club. F) Tilt from hips until the club reaches the ground.

Uphill Lie: A) Position ball forward in stance, (higher foot). B) Tilt body to match the slope of the hill. C) Swing along the slope. D) Use less lofted club for lower trajectory.

Downhill Lie: A) Position ball back in your stance, (higher foot). B) Tilt body to match slope of the hill. C) Swing along the slope. D) Use more lofted club for higher trajectory.

The following are some of the more common mistakes that I see people make on these situation shots. When the ball is above your feet, they don’t line up far enough to the right. This shot will tend to drift to the left. The same situation also occurs when the ball is below the feet. Golfers do not aim enough to the left at their address position. This ball will tend to drift to the right.

Another very common mistake is when the ball is on a downhill lie, golfers do not choose a club with enough loft. When you’re on a downhill lie, depending on the amount of slope, the club is de-lofted. An 8 iron in your stance could become a 4 iron at impact. You need to take this into consideration.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine TOP 100 Teacher since 1997, teaches full time at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale. To get more information on lessons, visit Scott’s web site at www.scottsackett.com. To contact Scott personally, you can e-mail him at scottsackett@cox.net.