Make a heads-up play from downhill lies

Dave Pelz, downhill lies, June 2007
Pelz Golf Institute

Dave Pelz, one of the foremost short game and putting instructors in golf, offers schools and clinics across the U.S. Click here to find out more information.

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The problem
You hit your downhill shots fat.

Why do I do that
Your normal downswing angle isn't steep enough to avoid the ground behind the ball on a downslope.

How to fix it
Make a more sharply descending downswing. However, on a downslope, creating a steeper-than-normal downswing that produces solid contact with good club speed is difficult, especially if you don't consistently practice the technique. Luckily, there's another way. It allows you to make your everyday swing, but with a few simple setup adjustments and a new wrinkle to your finish. Here's how to do it.

Top Image:
• Set your shoulders parallel to the slope.
• Take a more lofted club to compensate for the decrease in shot height created by the downslope, and grip down a few inches on the shaft.
• Spread your feet to create an extra-wide stance (for better backswing balance) and play the ball two inches back from normal (to provide a margin of error against fat contact).

Clockwise from left:
• Keep your head still and maintain some of your weight on your back foot.
• On your downswing, allow gravity to help you swing through impact.
• Feel you weight move downhill as you turn through the shot.
• Step forward and walk down the hill to help re-establish your balance.

-- More tips from Dave Pelz

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