Mastering the Downhill Lie Golf Shot

How to hit the downhill lie golf shot

Do you find that you catch shots heavy when you have a downhill lie golf shot?

Are you looking for a consistent technique to help you fix this?

I’m sure you’ve been there before; I think we all have.  Here’s the scenario:

You absolutely crush a drive on your tee shot - hitting it down the middle of the fairway.

You’re thinking you’re in good shape - only when you get up to your ball, you find it on a steep downhill lie.

The good news is that your ball is in the fairway; the bad news is that you're not really sure what’s going to happen when you hit the shot.

Cody had a similar problem at a course he plays regularly. He asked, 

I play a course with a lot of hills and slopes, and I have trouble with the downhill lies. I have a tendency to catch them heavy.  Do you have any techniques that can help me catch the ball first?

What I’d like you to remember is this: when hitting a downhill lie golf shot, one of the most important parts of the golf swing is knowing where your weight is in your golf swing.

If you have too much weight on your right side at impact (for a right handed golfer) you are more than likely going to catch shots heavy.

The Downhill Lie Golf Shot Setup...

These are a couple of tips I’d like you to keep in mind:

One - it is very important that we set our bodies up along the gradient of the slope.

What does that mean? It means that we want our shoulders, hips, and body to be parallel to the slope on which we are standing.

Another big part of executing this shot correctly is to make sure that you do not try to help the ball up in the air.  

You have to trust that the loft of the golf club you’ve selected will do this for you.

A common mistake that many golfers make is to hang back on their right side in an effort to get the ball elevated.

However, this technique will likely result in your club bottoming out too far behind the ball, resulting in your catching it heavy.

When you hit this shot, I really want you to focus on where your sternum is at impact.

What I mean by this is that when you start to initiate the downswing, make sure your sternum gets about two inches in front of the ball before impact.

What we are looking for here is to make sure that the club strikes the ball first - and then bottoms out after the shot. This will help you achieve a cleaner strike on the shot.

Think Like Gary Player for Downhill Lie Shots

The next time you go to the driving range, find a downhill slope (similar to the one in the video below). Focus on what I call a “Gary Player Shot.”

What is a Gary Player shot? Back in the day, Gary Player would always hit shots and immediately walk through after hitting them.

By employing this technique, there is more potential for your club to hit the ball first - preventing you from hanging back (keeping weight on your right side) .

One Last Thing - Ball Position

You need to pay attention to where the golf ball is positioned in your stance.

For these downhill lie shots, placing the ball in the middle of the stance is a good start.

the correct ball position

If you have the ball placed too far up, it will be harder to get your sternum in front of the ball, and consequently harder to catch the ball first.

Check out this video to learn how you can hit the downhill lie golf shot.


To Recap…

The downhill lie is not as challenging as one might think.

If you follow these few steps, you’ll be more confident the next time you’re faced with this shot. To recap:

  • Place the ball in the middle of your stance.

  • Your body and shoulders should be parallel to the slope.

  • Your sternum should be slightly in front of the ball at impact.

  • Trust the loft.

  • Think like Gary Player.

Here’s The Next Step:

If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to driving range or golf course to help hit off a downhill lie then download the bonus below.

You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the exact step-by-step process to hitting a golf ball off a downhill lie.  


Free Step-by-Step Checklist

How to Hit a Downhill Lie Golf Shot