Keep those reader questions coming. This week’s is from Tim Gower, who lives in Harwich and wants some help with an awkward lie.
Gower: “I had a good round going and was faced with a 125-yard approach shot on the 18th fairway. Problem is, the ball was on a slope, and it was below my feet. I hit a low hook into a greenside bunker, and ended up with a round-killing snowman. Any advice?”
Jay Wick, the head golf professional at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, offers this reply:
“New England golf courses have some of the most undulating terrain of any place in the country. Many of our approach shots are coming off uneven lies. As teachers, we constantly try to convey to our students the importance of learning proper technique and practicing it.
“As Tim can attest to, uneven lies have been the downfall of many good rounds. His question is focusing on the sidehill lie with the ball positioned below your feet. First, and most importantly, is your set-up. With any uneven lie, you will need to create a well-balanced address position.
“I’m sure many of you have heard from your instructors the importance of proper alignment and posture. With uneven lies, it’s even more important. When the ball is positioned below your feet and properly struck, it will produce a left-to-right ball flight (for right-handed players). When taking your address position, align yourself slightly left of your target and move closer to the ball. Adjust your posture by moving your weight more toward your heels and increase your knee flex, creating more of a ‘sitting position.’ This helps bring you closer to the ball.
“Now that you are ready to make your swing, it’s important to realize that even with these adjustments, it’s still very easy to swing off-balance. Maintaining your posture and balance is key. Your focus should be on your shoulder turn and arm swing. Many of these shots go wrong when you try to use too much hip turn and leg drive. This produces more of a low, left shot. Sound familiar, Tim?
“When minimizing your hip and leg motion, you will create better balance, but could lose some distance, so take one more club.
“Lastly, when you hit a bad shot, forget about it! Go on to the next shot and don’t let the last one bother you to the point where it turns a possible par into a round-killing snowman.”