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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tommy Armour on Playing Sloping Lies

This is a short section from Armour's book How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time, first published back in 1953. I want to call your attention to something you've probably heard many times before but didn't quite understand.
On a downhill lie through the fairway, the first thing to know is that you'll probably slice the shot, so aim the shot well to the left.
Take a slightly open stance and play the ball a bit farther back from the line off the left heel than you would play a shot from a level stance. Have your weight slightly stronger on the left foot.
As you are going to slice, you'd better take a club one or two numbers stronger than you'd play for the same distance from a level lie.
Play an uphill lie from a closed stance and allow for a slight hook by aiming to the right of the pin. Use the same club you'd use on a level fairway. Have the ball only a little bit back of the line out from your left heel and in address and all the way through have the accent of your weight on your left foot.
When you have a sidehill lie, and the ball is lower than your feet, follow the same technique as outlined on the previous page for a downhill shot. Conversely, on a sidehill lie where the ball is higher than your feet, use the same method of playing the shot that you would use on an uphill lie.
First let's sum up what he says.

On a downhill lie OR a sidehill lie where the ball is lower than your feet:
  • aim for a noticeable slice
  • slightly open stance
  • ball a bit farther back in your stance than normal
  • weight slightly on lead foot
  • use a stronger club than you would for a level lie (for example, for a normal 7-iron shot use a 6- or 5-iron)
On a downhill lie OR a sidehill lie where the ball is higher than your feet:
  • aim for a slight hook
  • slightly closed stance
  • ball about the same position in your stance as normal
  • weight slightly on lead foot
  • use the same club as for a level lie
Now here's what I want to point out. You'll notice that Armour tells you to open your stance slightly and play for a noticeable slice OR close your stance slightly and play for a slight hook. That sounds like you're going to play a slice or a hook, right?

But you aren't. The trick here is that you AREN'T TRYING to play a slice or hook. A normal swing is going to slice or hook off these lies without any help from you. You just need to aim for it.

So why open or close your stance? Won't that add to the slice or hook?

No, it won't. You open or close your stance slightly to make sure you stay steady enough to make a normal turn through the ball -- with a downhill lie you need to open your stance a bit to keep your balance (there's more weight on your lead foot automatically because of gravity), while on an uphill lie you need to close your stance slightly to avoid falling backward (again, because of gravity) and pulling the shot.

So don't try to slice or hook these sloping lie shots. Just make sure you aim for the curves, because they WILL curve without any help from you.

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