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Lessons from the pros: Playing from side-hill lies

It’s no big secret that golf course designers like to use the natural contours of the land when planning a course. With the exception of the tee shot, most of your shots will be played off uneven surfaces. I’m sure that at least a few times during each round you will find yourself hitting a shot with the ball well above or below your feet. Here are a few tips that will make you a more consistent side-hill shot player.

For a ball that is above your feet, take a little extra club. If you normally would hit a 7 iron, play a 6. Next, make sure you move your hands down on the club, making it shorter. How much depends on severity of the slope. In addition to moving your hands down, play the ball slightly back in your stance. Your thought process during the swing should focus on keeping your head down and maintaining balance. Solid contact is key!

To play a ball that is below your feet, move your hands up the club shaft making it as long as possible. The ball should be placed slightly back in the middle of your stance. Bend your knees enough so that you are balanced over the ball. Keep your feet still and swing mostly with your upper body.

Most important when playing side-hill lies is to swing easy and make solid contact. These are shots we hit all the time, but never practice. Finding a slope on your course or the side of the driving range to practice this shot will certainly help lower your score.

For Clark’s video demonstration of this tip, go to WNY PGA club pros will offer weekly tips in Wednesday’s editions of The News.

Matt Clark is the head professional at River Oaks Golf Course.