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Answer How do you hit a shot from a downhill lie

Playing a shot from a downhill lie may be the most precarious feeling in golf – like inching down a black-diamond ski run trying not to tumble to the bottom. Well, without the risk of bodily harm.

Hitting downhill can, however, irreparably damage your scorecard if you dont know what youre doing. Thin shots are quite common, as are topped shots and wicked push-slices that crash into oblivion.

Playing downhill subjects your body and swing to gravitational forces that alter your balance and hinder your ability to properly transfer weight. The typical result is a low shot which flies right of the target (for a right-handed golfer).

Just as playing from a sidehill or uphill position requires compensations, a few adjustments are needed when hitting downhill. First of all, club selection.

Lets say youve got a downhill stance in the fairway, but the green is at the same level as you are. Because the ball will fly lower and roll farther than usual, its sometimes wise to take one less club. On the other hand, you want to swing easy from a downhill stance, so the ball might not carry its usual distance.

Your best bet is to hit your normal club for the distance if you need to fly the ball all the way to the green. If theres room in front of the green to allow a run-up shot, hit the more lofted club and land it short.

If the green is below your level, subtract one club for every 10 yards in elevation change. For example, if the green is 20 yards downhill, hit a 7-iron instead of a 5-iron.

OK, now on to the basic steps for handling downhill lies:

  • Set up with your knees, hips and shoulders level to the grounds slope.
  • Aim a little left of the target as the shot will fly right of your alignment. The steeper the hill, the farther left you should aim.
  • When swinging, do your best to remain tilted in line with the slope. Dont lean back into the hill.
  • Make an 80% swing, which will help you stay balanced and make solid contact.
  • Focus on staying down through the shot. Its easy to let the left shoulder and hip come up and out early when hitting downhill.

If you remember only two things, make it the “swing easy” and “stay down” parts. In fact, that goes for pretty much every shot regardless of circumstances.

If youre not facing a downhill, uphill or sidehill lie, youre probably up against another of golfs myriad variables. We cover them all here at, including these:

Adjust Technique to Handle Varying Sand Conditions

Attack Soft Lies and Pine Straw Like Fairway Bunkers

Escape the Buried Lie in a Bunker

Fluffy Lie Basics: Full Shots

When and How to Play from a Water Hazard

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

You may be tempted to fight the hill in an effort to maintain balance. But leaning onto your back foot is not the way to play this shot. Likewise, taking an extra club (instead of hitting one less) will make it harder to hit the ball solidly and send it on an even lower trajectory – likely over the green.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Try it this way and, well, have fun picking yourself up off the ground. Stability is the key, so keep your weight as evenly positioned as possible across both feet at setup and during the swing. It helps to ease off and make a smooth pass.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

A downhill stance creates two issues: It forces weight onto your lead foot, and effectively de-lofts the clubface. The first causes the shot to start right, the second makes it fly low. In other words, you want to aim left and expect a good deal of roll.