New golfers will at first feel confident about their swings while hitting off a tee. Then they will learn to hit shots when the ball is sitting on the grass. The next step is to have a plan for hitting shots from the uneven lies.
There are four basic kinds of hilly lies. The adjustments required are relative to the severity of the slope.
The uphill lie may be the easiest to manage. An uphill lie means that your target-side foot is higher than your rear foot. This means the ball will have a higher trajectory than normal. To compensate for this you must choose a club with less loft than the yardage suggests–for example, a 7-iron instead of an 8-iron. When taking your stance be sure your shoulders are set at the same angle as the slope and adjust your ball position. By taking a “rehearsal swing” next to the ball, you will notice that the club will brush the grass closer to the target foot (the high foot). Adjust your stance so that the ball is positioned where the club will brush the turf. Follow through by transferring your weight to your forward foot as you would on an even lie.
The downhill lie means that your target-side foot is below your rear foot. The trajectory of the ball will be lower than normal. To compensate for this you must choose a club with more loft than the yardage suggests–for example, a 7-wood instead of a 5-wood. When taking your stance, set your shoulders to match the slope of the hill (the target-side shoulder is low). This is an awkward feel because we are used to having our rear shoulder lower. Your rehearsal swing will indicate the need to adjust your ball position toward your rear foot (again, the high foot) Your follow-through must be down the slope; brush as much grass as you can!
A hill that causes the ball to be above the level of your feet does not require a change in ball position. Instead, you must move your hands down the handle and adjust your aim. Shortening the club (creating less distance) may mean you’ll need a less-lofted club to make up for the shorter distance. Your aim must be adjusted because the ball flight will curve down the hill or to the left for the right-handed golfer.
A hill that causes the ball to be below your feet will require more spine tilt and/or more knee flex than usual. The goal here is to make the best contact with the ball that you can. Hold the club near the very end of the grip. Adjust your aim because the ball flight will curve down the hill or to the right for the right-handed golfer.
When faced with an uneven lie, remember: First, “Be the hill,” and second, swing with less than full effort in order to maintain good balance.