Downhill Lies

In this video, I'll show you how to play those tricky downhill shots on the course with ease.

  • Roll the lead ankle in slightly to help stabilize the lower body. 
  • Move the ball position slightly forward. 
  • Keep axis tilt just inside the lead knee
  • Work to keep the lead shoulder down in the hitting area. 

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Kevin
Chris has great form, but an up the line video shot did nothing for me. Why the last second video change? A video from face on, and in slow motion would have helped those of us trying to learn and get better.
February 15, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. I apologize about the camera angle. If you scroll to the very bottom of this page. You can see why Chris changed at the last moment. His response to Grant's Question.
February 15, 2016
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Jerry
Any thoughts on how to handle combination lies, like down hill with ball above feet, down hill with ball below feet?
February 2, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jerry. You can blend the videos on the site. Down hill with ball above. You will follow the same protocol in this video, but will choke down and adjust for the more draw or hooking tendency of the shot. Down hill with ball below you will aim a little left (if right handed) and focus on a good release with the tendency to fade. A touch of knee flex increase for stable lower body and sit with the lower body.
February 3, 2016
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Jerry
Thanks Craig, that will help... I need to practice this shot!!!
February 3, 2016
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Freddie
Hi RST, If I am on the right side of the fairway 150 yd out. The green is protected with a tree on the right @ 90 to 100 yd from the green. What changes can I make to this swing setup to work a fade to the green. I had a shot like this and didn't know what to do. Help me if you can
January 29, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Freddie. Take a look at the 9 Days to Amazing Ball Striking Section. You will learn how to maneuver it both ways.
January 29, 2016
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Peter
As always, concise, clear, and to the point. But I would have loved to see a straight on view to watch your left shoulder. We were watching intently, but we saw your swing from down the line. Thanks, pk Peter Kennedy, M.S., M.D.
October 15, 2015
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R G
HOW ABOUT BALL BELOW YOUR FEET
September 15, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello RG. The below your feet video is in the queue to be released soon.
September 16, 2015
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R G
THANKS
September 16, 2015
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Jitu
Well explained thanks. Is there a video to deal with hitting out of a soggy or waterlogged fairway/rough?
August 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jitu. Thanks. We don't have one yet, but thanks for the suggestion for the future. In the meantime, try to keep the lower body as stable as possible and focus on more lead arm usage. It will help shallow out the swing path for more of a pick type shot.
August 24, 2015
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John
good thoughts on the down hill, please help with the ball below feet. I am having a lot of problems there.
June 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
You will typically want to grip just a little up on the club. Make sure you lower your seat "butt" and get settled weight towards heels. Allow for a more fade movement of the ball due to the slope by aiming slightly left (for right handed).
June 18, 2015
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Robert James
Chris, when are you going to do side hill lies? It would also be great if you could combined up hill and down hill with the side hill in a video. Thanks Bob
March 4, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Bob, it is coming out very soon. We have been slightly delayed with the rollout of the new site. There is a new uneven lies video scheduled for next wednesday.
March 5, 2015
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Steve
I really didn't get to see what it looked like because you switched camera angles during the swing. It would have been nice to see it face on in slow motion.
January 13, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Steve - The first couple of videos in this series were shot to lay out a game plan of checkpoints for on the course. I can see now that the members are wanting better camera angles of the demonstration and will do my best moving forward.
January 14, 2015
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John
My ball position question is from the golfer's perspective, not face on.
January 12, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
See my response below.
January 14, 2015
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John
Just to clarify on the downhill lie; when you say ball position 'forward', do you mean left or right of your normal setup? Looks like you're playing the ball back (right) of your left ear. Thanks
January 12, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey John - That had a lot to do with the camera angle based on the slope that we had the camera on. The ball position would be more forward in the stance towards your lead foot.
January 14, 2015
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Barry
Hi Chris, Thanks for the downhill instruction, I have always used my sternum for ball position and felt doubtful about the forward position. Yesterday I tried your method and hit a great five wood about 180yds and kept my balance. So both shots (up and down hill) will become much easier for me.
January 12, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Barry -- That is so great to hear. Hopefully other members will put the checkpoints to work and get the same results you did. Keep up the good work.
January 14, 2015
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Aksel
Hey Chris I really struggle with the side hill ball above feet shot. Getting to know a few checkpoints of that would be helpful.
January 12, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Aksel -- These are on the list and you will be seeing videos on these shots very soon.
January 14, 2015
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Dave
No 15 at Ross Bridge at RTJ trail......I used this technique for the first time. It works! Side note, my best striking round ever. RST made one of the top 10 longest courses very manageable! Thanks Chris, Craig and Chuck.
January 11, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Dave -- That is so awesome to hear and we are pleased you are getting some awesome results. Keep working hard and keep us posted on how things are going.
January 14, 2015
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Michael
You switch camera angles just as you begin the downswing so that I cannot see what you mean by keeping the lead shoulder down in the hitting area to let the club work down the plane
January 11, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Michael -- The first couple of videos in this series were shot to lay out a game plan of checkpoints for on the course. I can see now that the members are wanting better camera angles of the demonstration and will do my best moving forward. On a flat lie, the spine has a bit of additional tilt, otherwise known as secondary axis tilt in the hitting area, thus adding just a fraction more tilt to the shoulders. The tendency in down hill shots it so get the hips shifting forward really hard, which will in turn cause the spine to lean away in excess. If you try to hold the shoulder lower into the hitting area as described in the level shoulders video (advanced downswing section), you will be able to control the bottom of the arc much better.
January 14, 2015
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nathan
How to hit a low going hook. Under trees to a left green.
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Perfect! I got this shot covered no problem at all. I battled a quick hook when I played and I was better at this shot than I was from 90 yards. hahaha
January 10, 2015
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Don
Uphill / downhill lies do not bother me nearly as much as up or down side-hill lies. Still waiting for those tips and I will be leaving rotary swing at the end of Jan. so not much time left. (In oil business ..... 60%+ cut in income.)
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Don -- Those videos should be coming out very soon. Sorry to hear you are leaving us and hope to see you back on the site sooner than later.
January 10, 2015
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William
Nice one Chris! Although I'm still working on the takeaway and backswing, it's good to 'fast-forward' to some of the other fantastic instruction videos on the RST Site! Thanks, William
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey William -- Thanks for the kind word and glad you enjoyed. Stay focused on the takeaway and backswing and you will be rockin' and rollin soon enough
January 10, 2015
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gordon
Hi Chris. The traditional four scenarios are uphill, downhill, ball above both feet and ball below both feet. Life (aka golf!) is not always that simple. Can you provide some guidance as to how to handle mixed lies, for instance (for a right hander) the ball above feet but with the target at 45 degrees left, making it a downhill lie shot? Your help would be particularly useful for distance shots, as such lies can be off the fairway as well as around the green. Cheers, Gordon.
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Gordon -- Thanks for the suggestions and all have been added to the list and I will get work.
January 10, 2015
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Christian
great videos Chris. I like the step by step process you take us through. I am excited to practice this shot.
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Christian, glad you enjoyed and looking forward to hearing how good your results are.
January 10, 2015
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harold
Great videos on uphill and downhill lies. I entirely agree with you. I have struggled with traditional teachings for years on these shots. ( See Maria Palozza for example) Now I know the reason for my lack of success. Tradtional teachings have had it wrong all along. Traditinal teachings (and you can go online and fine countless pga pros advocatng forward of center ball position on uphill lies and a back of centre ball position for down hill lies) on uphill and downhill lies totally ignore axis tilt and do not emphasize techniques for achieving lower body stability. All I ever hear is keep your shoulders aligned withthe slope. This is a recipe for disaster. How could they (traditional teachers) have been wrong for so along is what gets me and all this with the blessings of the PGA establishment. Are thereno standards? This misleading teaching can only lead to disrepute of taechers carrying the PGA label.
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks for the kind words Harold. There is obviously a lot of instruction out there and we really work hard to make sure we look at each and every part of the swing and try to give the hows and the whys which has really lacked in golf instruction in the past.
January 10, 2015
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Bill
Camera view was face on which was good. However, when the downhill swing was finally made the view was suddenly changed to a front view eliminating a good view of the swing. Not very helpful.
January 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Bill - Sorry for the change in angle of the camera. I will make sure that each video in the specialty shot series will focus on the most important angle. I do not get much time to work on my golf swing so I generally try to really press the importance of the checkpoints in relation to the technique. I may also try to get some swings for each of these shots loaded into the swing viewer so that you can use that as a tool to further help you.
January 10, 2015
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Joseph
I totally agree with Bill. I was looking forward to seeing the swing FO to see if you could pick the ball off the downward slope with a mostly vertical torso as the combination of angles will all conspire to bias you to hitting the ball without a downward trajectory and probably "thin." Also, you did not say why the idea of sloping the shoulders down the hill is a bad idea. Intuitively it seems like a good idea to get your "crisp" contact (ie., downward angle of attack). Moreover, you said the hill causes your lower body to set up angled down the hill but your glaring white belt shows your hips are level at address. So, please redo the FO version of the swing, show us a drawing of slope, plane etc to fully explain your ideas, and tell us in detail (preferably with drawings again) why the "slope your shoulders downhill" approach is illogical. I've bought everything else you guys have argued for but not this.
January 9, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Joseph -- Seems as though you are misinterpreting the overall objective of this video. I have dedicated my life to helping students in the game of golf with their games. I have very little time to work on my own game and build a model like golf swing. Furthermore, when you are looking at my belt buckle when I am speaking to the camera, I have also adjusted my spine to counterbalance the slope, thus giving you the appearance that my hips are level to the site of the camera. In golf posture, I can assure you that my pelvis was adjusted to the slope as the lead foot was quite a bit lower than the trail foot. As response to your shoulders down the slope question... On a flat lie at impact, are the shoulders perfectly level to the ground? No, there should be a bit of tilt to the shoulders and the spine (secondary axis tilt) at impact. Why...because the trail arm is lower on the club and you need a bit of secondary tilt to shallow the plane. At address on a flat lie, we achieve proper axis tilt by adjusting our spine to out hips that are level to the ground. On a downhill lie, the hips should be adjusting to the slope, providing that your weight distribution is correct. You would then look to adjust axis tilt to just inside the lead knee and that would allow you to keep things controlled and consistent. Tilting your shoulders so that they are perfectly parallel to the slope at impact would be very hard to do I can assure you especially with all of the momentum and inertia pulling you down the slope. Instruction has always said, "match the shoulders to the slope". Why though? They aren't like this at impact. We have also heard, shoulder width apart for stance width. What do the shoulders have to do with the legs? The width of ones pelvis should be more of the determining factor for stance width. See my response to above and I will try and do a better job showing correct angles. Good luck on your game.
January 10, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Also, pause the video at the 4:32 mark to see the tilt in the hips down the slope and the shoulders in relation to the slope. I actually bushed the grass right at the bottom of the arc with the shoulders nowhere close to the same angle of the slope.
January 10, 2015
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Shane
Hi Chris. I appreciate your effort in these videos, I have always had the impression that you genuinely want to help us get better. Best website on the internet. I am enjoying the challenge of improving my game with your help.
January 10, 2015
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don
Great check points to consider on downhill lies. Please address downhill/sidehill lies. My course has many of them.
January 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Don and glad you liked the points. Those shots are on the list and will be released very soon.
January 10, 2015
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Stephen
Good video thank you, could you make a video for when the ball is above or below your feet (on an angled slope - a side hill) ? Please
January 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Glad you enjoyed the video Stephen. Those shots are on the list to be released very soon
January 10, 2015
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Mario
I recently subscribed to RST. Enjoying it. I haven't had time to submit a video, but I do have a question. My most frequent miss is a pull to the left (I'm right handed). The ball comes out low, starts left and keeps going left. Not a pull hook, just a pull. I can usually fix it by focusing on pulling my right shoulder blade back on the backswing and starting with my lower body on the downswing. I'm open to any video suggestions that might address this issue.
January 8, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Mario, It's likely that you're having issues with overactive shoulders, causing an outside to in path. I have two videos for you that should help you out with coordinating your upper body and lower body movements in the golf swing. http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/tour-pros/sang-moon-bae-hips-for-lag http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/fault-fixes/coming-over-the-top/maintain-posture-merry-go-round-drill-ffcot Let us know if you need anything! R.J.
January 9, 2015
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Grant
I wish you hadn't of moved the camera at the last second of the video. I was interested in seeing the front view camera angle complete the downswing with the left shoulder held in position. Instead the camera angle changed to a lead side angle, and I think, lost the value of the demonstration of the swing.
January 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Grant -- Sorry for the change in angle of the camera. I will make sure that each video in the specialty shot series will focus on the most important angle. I do not get much time to work on my golf swing so I generally try to really press the importance of the checkpoints in relation to the technique. I may also try to get some swings for each of these shots loaded into the swing viewer so that you can use that as a tool to further help you.
January 10, 2015

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