Bad Lies

Make clean contact no matter how difficult your lie

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Ball Above Your Feet

When the ball is above your feet, you have to stand farther from the ball. As a result, your club’s lie angle is flatter than normal. Stand taller at setup, sit down and back, and point your chest at the ball. These adjustments will produce a flatter swing plane a la Ben Hogan.

The second important concept in executing these shots is counterbalance. Gravity, obviously, pulls us downhill. Hitting a ball that’s below your feet encourages an over-the-top swing and a loss of balance toward your toes. A ball above your feet tends to pull you in the other direction, toward your toes. To maintain your balance, take an extra club, make a smooth swing and keep your lower body stable!

Ball Above

Ball Level

Ball Below
On sidehill lies, your club’s lie angle changes in relationship to the slope’s angle. When the ball is above your feet, your club will have a flatter lie angle; when the ball is below your feet, it’ll have a more upright lie angle. (This is important, because, as you’ll see later, I want you to fit your entire swing and stance to this new lie angle.)

Ball Below Your Feet

When the ball is below your feet (and, as a result, you have to stand closer to the ball and have a more upright swing), flex your knees more and bend more from your hips. Also, feel as if your chest is pointing at the ball. This new setup, fitted perfectly to the angle of the slope, will allow you to make a more upright swing, a la Jack Nicklaus.

The Flyer

The key to hitting from a flyer lie is to anticipate and predict how the ball will react—which, unfortunately, isn’t always easy.

First, let’s define what a flyer is. Typically, flyers occur when grass gets caught between the clubface and the ball. This results in a sort of “knuckle ball” shot that spins less, flies farther and rolls longer.

To get a sense of how the ball will react, look at how much grass is around your ball and in which direction it’s growing. The most common flyer is in light to medium rough that’s growing toward the target.

If you think you’ve got a flyer lie, take one extra club, make a smooth swing and expect the ball to release more once it lands.

Out Of The Deep Rough

When the ball nestles down in thick rough, it doesn’t fly as far as from a typical lie.

The main thing to guard against with a shot like this is the club bottoming out before it gets to the ball. This will cause the clubface to close and the shot to veer left.

To make good contact, take a club with enough loft (a higher-lofted hybrid is ideal), stand closer to the ball (which allows for a steeper swing) and open your stance (which helps you swing from the outside in). Hold the club a bit tighter in your lead hand, and accelerate through the hitting area.

These adjustments help your club bottom out at the ball and prevent the clubface from shutting.


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