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For when the ball is below your feet

June 2012

ADJUST YOUR AIM.
Any time the ball is on a slope where it's lower than your feet, it's going to promote a shot that moves left to right for right-handers. You need to allow for that by aiming slightly left of your target. The mistake some amateurs make is setting up open to their target, which could promote even more left-to-right spin on the shot. Instead, set up with a square stance but aim a tad left of your target.

CREATE A STABLE BASE.
Unless you feel anchored, the slope can make you stumble toward the ball. Two things you can do to help keep your balance when you swing are: Take a wider stance—just slightly wider than usual—and feel as if you're sitting back on your heels a little more than normal.

LET THE SLOPE DICTATE BALL POSITION.
It's always good to take a couple of practice swings next to the ball before hitting this shot. When you do, pay attention to where the club bottoms out, and adjust your ball position at address so it's slightly behind the spot the club bottomed out.

DON'T OVERSWING.
Keeping your posture and balance is crucial to hitting it solidly. So be careful not to swing any harder or rush the downswing. You could lose your balance. It might even be a good idea to take one club longer than normal and swing easy. Keep in mind, however, that the ball will come out lower, and you should allow for that.

LAIRD, a two-time PGA Tour winner, ranked 25th in greens in regulation from off the fairway in 2011.

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