Unfortunately, Golf is not played on a flat lie. Most people would like it – but it is just not possible. Even on the “flattest” courses you will still have lies that are uneven. You have basically four types of lies besides a flat one: Uphill, Downhill, Sidehill (ball above feet), Sidehill (ball below feet). Then, there are varying degrees of the lie to make it more or less difficult. For practical purposes, lets look at the basic setup adjustments for the uphill and downhill as that will help you get started in the right direction.
The one constant that most players forget to adjust for in the setup of these shots is Spine Tilt. The most important thing is to try and get your body feeling like you are on a flat lie (even though its not). You want to get your shoulders as parallel to the ground as possible. So, how do you do this you may ask?
(We will assume a Right Handed Player)
On an uphill lie, in order to get this “Flat Lie” feeling you would need to tilt your spine back (behind the ball and more towards your right side). Also, you will have to make sure your lower body weight is slightly into your left side (think of the weight going into the hill) to maintain balance and control through the swing.
On a downhill lie, the spine needs to be opposite. You will feel it is tilted more into your left side which would make your shoulders more parallel to that particular lie. Weight still needs to be balanced so work on getting your lower body centered. If you feel a little extra weight into the front leg that is okay as you will be needing to transfer your weight properly through impact to the finish.
If you can setup and maintain a solid posture no matter what lie you have been presented with then you will notice cleaner contact and more flush golf shots off these lies. It would help to go out onto the golf course and try these shots several times before attempting them during a round. Your body needs to get comfortable with the different setup so it can execute when needed.
Remember, if you can visualize playing every shot as a “flat lie”, that will help you remember how to position your spine and ultimately improve your posture in every situation.
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