PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Short Game

What To Expect On Sidehill Lies

August 12, 2013

Most golfers know that a ball lying above their feet tends to go left and a ball below their feet tends to go right. What many fail to realize is that the left shots will curve more dramatically, especially with the more lofted clubs, so a right-handed player needs to aim even farther right to allow for a big hook. A ball above the feet curves more because the stance lets you lay the clubhead flush with the ground at address (above, left). This is good, because it sets up a solid strike, but it effectively points the loft of the clubface to the left. Even though the leading edge is perpendicular to your target line, the more severe the slope and the greater the loft on the clubface—such as with the pitching wedge I'm holding here—the more the face will point to the left.

When the ball sits below your feet, the sole of the club can't rest flat along the turf and so the toe hovers (above, right). As a result, the club is in a more regular address position, with the clubface pointing only slightly to the right, and you usually hit a little fade.