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Uneasy Lies the Stance of a Golfer Staring at a Sidehill Lie

Uneven lies are the norm here in the Upper Valley. Uphill, downhill, sidehill, there always seems to be a hill we’re on that’s messing with our mojo.

Let’s focus on the sidehill lie, where the ball is below our feet and we have to squat down and reach for the ball. It’s tough on the legs and a real pain in the rear.

The key here is to create a posture designed to maintain balance throughout this shot. Gravity wants to take us to our toes when the ball is below our feet, so we have to counter that by squatting with a deeper knee and hip bend. It’s also important that the upper body tilt is forward enough so the chest is pointing at the ball. The farther the ball is below the feet, the more tilt required to keep the chest pointing at the ball, allowing you to stay in posture during the shot.

As a result of the slope and posture, you should feel flat-footed and your body turn will be limited, creating more of an arm-and-hands swing. An arm swing with less body rotation will create a more vertical swing with less arm rotation through impact, so aim left to guard against leaving the face open and leaking the ball right.

Get used to this crazy lie with a few practice swings and notice where the club hits the turf. This will likely be your ball position.

During the swing, focus on maintaining the same knee bend throughout the shot. Also, take more club than normal. Your body rotation is limited, so you won’t be able to generate normal clubhead speed, and if you swing too hard, you will also lose your balance.

So squat, tilt, and aim left just in case, then keep your knee bend and swing easy so you’ll stay in balance. Or it’s all downhill from there.

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column will appear regularly on the VALLEY NEWS recreation page during the playing season.