My Golf Instructor

Uneven Lies: Hitting a Ball Above Your Feet
Hit solid golf shots with the ball above your feet

Learn to hit effective shots with the ball above your feetLearn to Hit with the Ball above your Feet

Ever been told that the golf swing is similar to a baseball swing? When you catch a lie with the ball above your feet, you will feel that baseball swing more than ever! Growing up on a hilly course when I was a junior, we played one of the holes in a unorthodox manner. It was so severely sloped that you had to hit your ball into the hill along side of the fairway from the tee box in order to get the ball to bounce back down into the middle of the fairway. When the grounds crew decided to have some fun, they would let the grass grow deep on the side of the hill. I would occasionally find myself with a ball in the deep rough and at chest level. I quickly learned to aim way to the right, dig into the slope and make a baseball swing sending my ball towards the trees on the right and letting it swing back in 30 yards to the green. It seemed absolutely crazy, but doable once I figured out how to handle it.

Often times you will hear golfers say that they actually prefer a stance with the ball slightly above their feet. Two common errors of higher handicappers are slicing and topping. A ball above a player's feet can help offset both. The height of the ball will force a more flat, baseball like swing plane. This will lead to a hook or draw depending on the severity of the slope. For those that top the ball, having the ball up higher makes topping a lot less likely.

For a ball only slightly above your feet ( a couple of inches) you may need to only make one adjustment...choke down. For balls that lie knee high, waist high and chest high, more exaggerated adjustments need to be made. For instance, the more the club face is tilted with the toe skyward, the more the ball will tend to hook. This is even more evident with short irons. Because of the loft on the face, when you tilt the toe upward, the face becomes closed. Knowing how to make simple adjustments to your set up can make even steep lies playable. As with all uneven lies don't forget that your job is to keep the ball in play, even if that means sacrificing some distance.

The Situation:

Your ball has landed on a hill above your feet.

The Solution:

Choke down on the club. Make sure to make a few extra practice swings to get an idea of where your club is bottoming out. Your swing plane will become more rounded or level like a baseball swing. Because the ball will hook, offset this with your alignment. Aim more to the right of your target (for a right hander). Lean into the hill side with the balls of your feet (you will naturally stand taller to the ball). A common error here is to lean back or let your weight fall back on your heels causing a swing that goes over the top of the ball. Maintain a stable lower body and good balance.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
- Driving (68)
- Putting (127)
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
- Lack of Distance (108)
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
- Grip (65)
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)