How to Play the Ball from Varying Lies

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.”

Unfortunately, playing from a bad lie or on an abnormal ground condition happens to the best of us. Every obstacle is part of the game. It sharpens our mind to solve the problem that lies in front of us. In a winning golfer mindset, taking the challenge with grace and a smile is the right thing to do.


There are four most common uneven lies that the ball may lie from – uphill lie, downhill lie, ball below feet lie and ball above feet lie. When the ball hits on a bad lie, the goal is to get the ball back on track by hitting it to a good position for the next shot. The key is to take advantage of the slope of the ground. The following are the necessary changes to make whenever in a bad lie:

  1. Wider stance for added stability
  2. Lean into the slope
  3. Don’t swing too hard

Here are some of the specific things to remember in every lie you may encounter:

If in an uphill lie

  • A ball from an uphill lie will fly much higher and with a lot less distance.
  • Watch out not to hit the ball fat and use longer clubs because the upward angle of the hill tilts the clubface back.


  • Set up with the slope. Align your shoulders with the slope. Keep the spine at a right angle on the ground. The ball should be slightly further forward from the stance with the body weight on the back of the foot.


If in a downhill lie

  • Watch out not to hit the ball thin or fat and use less club because the hill delofts the clubface.
  • Parallel shoulders with the slope and position the ball a little back from the stance. Keep the spine the same angle as in an uphill lie with the body weight more on the front foot.
  • Aim a little to the left because the shots from a downhill slope tend to go to the right because of the extension of the arms down the slope.

If the ball lies below the feet (Hanging Lie)

  • Maintain a more flex knee stance to make a solid contact with the ball and stay in posture when swinging.
  • Keep the spine at a right angle with the slope and the weight should be on your heels.
  • Grip the club at the very end of the grip to make it as long as possible.

If the ball lies above the feet

  • Watch out not to draw or hook the ball because the ball lying above the feet it flatter than usual during the address. Avoid this by aiming to the right of the target line for right-handed golfers and vice versa.
  • Stand up tall with less knee flex and grip the club towards the bottom grip to counteract the ball’s closer position towards you.
  • Keep your weight a little bit on the toes.