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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mike Davis on Downhill Lies (Video)

GCA teacher Mike David did a short segment on how to play off a downhill lie that I found very helpful. Of course, I'm going to try and simplify it a bit.

Davis lists five primary keys to making a good shot from a downhill lie:
  1. Tilt your torso with the slope
  2. Widen your stance
  3. Ball position is a bit tricky -- imagine a line rising perpendicular from the ground to the downhill side of your face and put the ball there
  4. Swing easier
  5. No weight shift -- set up with weight on downhill leg
Okay, let's see if we can make these things a bit more instinctive.

Numbers 1, 2 and 5 can be made a bit simpler by combining them and studying the video. When you tilt your torso, you're trying to get your shoulders more in line with the slope. But if we widen our stance and set up with our weight already on our downhill side, we can effectively get these three correct by simply placing our head directly vertical over our lead foot and then moving it ever so slightly to the uphill side. That's simply a balance thing -- we don't want to lose our balance and fall down the hill when we swing! Widening our stance and setting our head almost over our downhill foot automatically creates a spine angle suitable for the slope.

To get the ball position correct (key #3), let's use the address position we just created. Instead of trying to create a line perpendicular to the slope -- we've already created several angles in our address -- let's just place the ball vertically below our UPHILL EAR. If you look at the video, you'll see that's roughly where the ball is... and you can find that place during a practice session simply by dropping a ball held beside your uphill ear and watching to see where it lands.

Finally, instead of trying to change our swing speed (key #4) let's just think of this swing as a big pitch shot. That will keep us from swinging too hard or too long, and we can just make a normal swing from about shoulder height.

Those three keys should help you duplicate the Davis setup from this video without getting too caught up in the angles you're trying to create. Addressing the ball on a downhill slope affects both your balance and your vision, so you might as well make it as simple as you can. This way, you can use gravity to help you create a consistent address position.

All you need is a little time on a slope practicing your setup. You won't need to hit balls at first -- just get familiar with the setup. As Davis says, learning to predict your distance comes with practice.

1 comment:

  1. Michael Breed suggests forward ball position due to upper body to replicate normal shot