Uneven Lies

FaldoMichaelEllisHeadshotBy – Michael Ellis, PGA
Senior Golf Instructor Marriott Golf Academy

In this article I would like to focus on uneven or problem lies that most every golfer will face at least once a round.  Though the fairway you are playing looks perfectly level as you look down it toward the green, you may find as you arrive at your ball that you have an uneven lie of some sort.  Perhaps it’s just a slight undulation, but that is enough to change the normal relation of the position of the ball to your hands and feet.  The following will cover these changes so that you can position your set-up accordingly.

FaldoUnevenLies001This is probably the easiest of all uneven or problem lies to hit.  If you would normally hit a 7 iron from this distance, take one club more such as a 6 iron since your ball will go higher but with less distance.  Angle your shoulders comparatively with the slope of the land.  Because of this slope your weight will tend to favor your right side.  The ball position should be placed slightly forward.  Finally, choke up or shorten your grip on the club and aim a little right of target as this shot will tend to go left.

FaldoUnevenLies002This is one of the more difficult uneven or problem lies for most golfers.  As always, angle your shoulders comparatively to the slope of the land.  Because of this slope, your weight is naturally on your left side.  The ball position should be placed back in the stance and because of the slope and ball position this will de-loft the club.  Again choke up or shorten your grip and now aim a little to the left of the target as this lie produces shots that tend to go to the right.

FaldoUnevenLies003Because the ball is above your feet, stand a little taller at address and choke up or shorten your grip on the club to avoid hitting a fat shot.  Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and try to maintain this balance or you will fall back away from the ball on your forward swing.  Play the ball position somewhat in the middle of your stance.  With this type of lie, try to make the plane of your swing a little flatter or more rounded like a baseball swing.  The tendency here is to pull or hook your shot, so make the adjustment for this by aiming to the right of your target.

FaldoUnevenLies004This lie like the downhill lie is a very difficult shot to execute.  The tendency here is to top the ball.  Grip the club at full length and flex your knees more than normal to assure solid contact.  Balance is a challenging task here so swing with a smooth rhythm.  The plane of your swing will be more upright and the tendency here will be to fade or slice so aim a little left of target.  Maintaining good balance and staying down through impact are keys here.

Practicing these lies occasionally is obviously important. With uneven lies, golfers are apt to lose some distance, have low confidence levels and swing too hard.  So before you try to hit these uneven or problem lies in a golf situation on the golf course, put yourself in a like situation, make the adjustments in your set-up and take a few practice swings before you try the problem shot.  Try and focus on balance and rhythm and also where the club is bottoming out in the swing.  Preparation is paramount.

If you have a problem with any of these uneven lies or any part of your golf game, please call or e-mail me anytime at Marriott Golf Academy Shadow Ridge at (760) 674-2732 or mike.ellis@vacationclub.com.

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