The LWG Blog: Why are sidehill lies so tricky?

Sidehill lies are very tricky shots that require lots of adaptations and are also very difficult to practice as driving ranges tend to be flat.

For the purpose of today’s blog we will just talk about ball above feet and ball below feet lies. Uphill and downhill lies we can cover another time.

Ball Above Feet

When the ball is above your feet you have some considerations:

  1. When the clubhead lies flat on the ground the loft of the club points left (see image above)
  2. The more loft you use (i.e. a PW compared to a 7i), the further left the loft will point!
  3. The ball just effectively got closer to you
  4. The swing plane will get flatter

You can see, it’s really not easy to get your ball to finish on target with all these things to think about. Here are some simple things you can do to help:

  1. Grip down on the club. This will help you avoid hitting the ground first.
  2. Aim right. You can fight the inevitable hook flight as much as you like but it’s very difficult. Allow the ball to curve onto the target instead.
  3. Club up so that you can swing with more control. It will also bring the loft down and therefore allow the ball to fly straighter.

Ball Below Feet

For ball below feet lies, which I would say are more difficult to deal with you have to consider:

  1. The ball is further away from you
  2. The club shaft might sit more vertically making the loft on the face point right (see image above)
  3. Your balance will be pulled forward to your toes

Like I say, I find these shots more difficult, particularly thinking about posture over the ball. Here are some tips:

  1. You should club up. This means you’ll have a longer club in your hand to reach the ball.
  2. Try to lower your posture a touch to control your balance. The intention for the swing is to remain stable.
  3. Aim as touch left to allow for the loft pointing more right
  4. Swing easy. Accept that you are not in a great position and play accordingly.

One other consideration here is that if you don’t have custom fitted clubs and they are either too short/ long or too upright/ flat; you’ll find that one of these shots will be very difficult indeed!

The best place to learn how to play these types of shot is most definitely on the golf course, and playing lessons can cover this really well. Let me know if you’re interested!

Lee Wilson

January 2022