June 25, 2008

Sidehill Saves

Adjust your aim, and stabilize your stance

Ball below: Aim left of your target, and swing easier.

Ball below: Aim left of your target, and swing easier.

I love the do-or-die nature of the NCAA basketball tournament. We seem to shun that concept with youngsters today. The heartbreak of failure has inspired me and countless greater thinkers more than we can imagine.

When you practice around the green, don't just put the ball in perfect lies all the time. Simulate conditions you'll find on the course, including difficult lies.

Most players have trouble when the ball is above or below their feet. From a sidehill lie, the ball will follow the direction of the slope, and you have to allow for that.

Tom Watson...

When the ball is below your feet, it will bounce and run to the right, so aim left. Stand slightly closer to the ball, and set your weight left and more in your heels. Bend more at the waist, grip the club at its full length and swing easier to adjust for the longer arc.

When the ball is above your feet, it's going to go left, so aim right. Stand slightly farther from the ball, and set your weight left but more on your toes to keep your balance. Grip down on the club, and swing a little harder to make up for the shorter swing arc.

From severe sidehill lies, especially with high-lofted clubs, aim farther left or right.



THOUGHTS FROM TOM

I love the do-or-die nature of the NCAA basketball tournament. We seem to shun that concept with youngsters today. The heartbreak of failure has inspired me and countless greater thinkers more than we can imagine.

Golf Digest Playing Editor Tom Watson is the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Click here for more tips from Watson.