The tee boxes at Augusta are pristine. Flat lies. Grass to rest your ball on for hits off the deck. No bare patches. Strange, but the tee boxes we play on every day don’t look like this. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a flat, unblemished tee box all year.
Public courses, and even some private golf clubs, don’t have the financial resources to maintain tee boxes and fairways at the same level of a PGA championship course like Augusta. We plebians are forced to deal with less than optimal conditions.
Today’s post covers some of the challenges of hitting a good tee shot from a bad lie. We’ve included instructions and videos on how to adjust for sidehill lies, both up and down, and how to successfully lift a ball off of a tight lie of dead grass or dirt (hardpan).
Sidehill Lie: Ball Below the Feet
This is one of the tougher shots in golf, one where a right-handed golfer is likely to slice. Aim left (or right if you’re left-handed). Bend your knees, lean back a bit, and shift your weight to your heels so you don’t lose your balance. Your swing will be shorter, but don’t try to overcompensate. Let the club do the work.
Sidehill Lie: Ball Above the Feet
Not surprisingly, body positioning for a ball above your feet is opposite of when it’s below. Lean forward, shift your weight to the balls of your feet, and choke up on the club a bit. The swing plane will be flatter, so the ball will drift left. Aim to the right of your target and open the club face a bit to compensate for that.
Tight Lie: Hardpan (No Grass, Solid Dirt)
Revenue shortages in the early months of this season left a lot of golf courses in rough shape. Golfers in colder climates experience sparse grass and dirt surfaces in the winter. PGA teaching pro Chris Czaja recommends the following for hardpan lies:
- Move the golf ball back in your stance. This will set your hands in front of the ball.
- Swing down more on the ball. This will give the golf ball backspin.
- Keep good tempo.
- Take more loft. Go to a hybrid instead of a longer iron.