March 4, 2008

Sit back on sidehill lies

With the ball below your feet, get on your heels and stay there

SQUAT DOWN: Gravity is pulling you downhill, so put more weight on your heels. HIT IT LEFT: Maintain your posture, and play the shot to move left to right.

SQUAT DOWN: Gravity is pulling you downhill, so put more weight on your heels.

HIT IT LEFT: Maintain your posture, and play the shot to move left to right.

Typical situation here: You've hit your tee shot to the right, onto a sidehill lie with the ball below your feet. Most golfers approach this shot like any other -- then lose their balance and miss the green right.

First off, understand that gravity wants to pull you down the hill. As a result, your swing can get too vertical and prevent the clubface from rotating back to square at impact. To adjust, get into a stable position at address and maintain it as you swing.

Start by putting more weight on your heels. Really squat down in your knees, lowering your rear end. You want to sit into the slope (above, left). Spread your feet a little wider, too, but use your normal ball position. The shot will tend to curve to the right, so aim left.

During the swing, make sure you stay in your posture, not letting your weight move onto your toes. If you focus on keeping your knees flexed (above, right), you'll be less likely to fall forward. On severe slopes, take an extra club and make a three-quarter swing.

Ranked No. 1 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Harmon runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev. Click here for more tips from Harmon.