Experienced golfers know that sidehill lies cause shots to curve in different directions, depending on whether the ball is above your feet or below them. But when focusing intently on aim, they sometimes forget to factor in distance.

A shot from a sidehill stance will generally fly shorter than one hit off level ground. The more severe the tilt, the less the ball will carry. That’s primarily because the additional curve subtracts distance, but there are other factors, too. You generally won’t swing as hard because of the awkward stance; and with the ball above your feet, you must grip down on the club, making it shorter.

There is one caveat: When the ball is above your feet it will draw (turn right to left) and roll more after landing.

Apply these basic club-selection rules when faced with sidehill lies:

  • Ball below feet: Take at least one extra club, depending on the slope’s severity. This will help you reach the ball more easily, without additional bending at the knees, and compensate for the loss of carry distance.

  • Ball above feet: If you can reach the target without carrying a hazard, take one less club and plan for extra roll. You won’t have to choke up as much on the shorter club, improving your chances of making a good swing. If the ball rests several inches above your feet, however, it will fly a shorter distance.