Sidehill Lies - Ball Above Your Feet

Side Hill Lies are tough! Our new series of specialty shot videos, shows you golfers at home simple and effective ways to attack and manage these shots on the course. In this new video, I'll show you a quick and easy way to handle a ball above your feet situation on the course. I'll show you 2 quick and easy setup adjustments guaranteed to get you on the green and closer to the hole on these tough sidehill lies!

  • Stabilize the lower body with the weight underneath the ankles and rolled in just slightly.
  • Grip down on the club a bit to compensate for the slope
  • Plan for the ball to hook due to the lie angle and a more shallow swing.

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Guy
Awesome video. What adjustments are made for a side hill lie going uphill and vise versa. My home course has tons of these! Thanks for you help! Guy
April 20, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Guy. Uphill you would keep the same dynamics as above. Except the ball may need to be placed back just a hair back of standard and you will need to make sure you work hard to transfer your weight up the slope. Downhill the ball will be a little more forward and you need to keep the lead shoulder feeling more down through the hitting area.
April 20, 2019
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Bernard
Craig, does choking down on the club not mean you are standing closer to the ball than on a level lie? I see you putting the club down, then down a bout 3-4 inches down from the ball then, choking down and putting club behind the ball. Is that the correct way of setting up to these shots? I'm hitting virtually all of these shots fat. Perhaps trying to squat too much and should concentrate on balance?
August 3, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Bernard, Chris here! Yes, if you are on a level lie and you choked down on the club, you would have to be standing closer to the ball if you kept you setup consistent. Choking up on the club on lies like I show on this video, compensate for the slope. It would be best to take your normal setup, as if the lie were flat, and then choke up and position your body accordingly. There will be only slight variance in this and you need to play around with it. If you are hitting these shots fat, I would double check that you are not hanging your weight over your back foot at impact or throwing the club too early. You can submit some videos of you hitting off these lies, so we can take a look and see if we can identify the problem. Hope that helps.
August 6, 2017
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Bernard
Thanks Chris. I'll try to submit some examples. Should weight shift still be a focus on these shots?
August 10, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
My pleasure and YES, absolutely you still want to be transferring the weight, if you hang back, that can cause fat shots.
August 10, 2017
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gordon
I have a problem with these lies, never achieving clean contact with the ball and usually hitting fat. As you will see in the following I am confused as to exactly what I should be doing (never a good situation in golf!). With uphill/downhill lies I know I need to modify my stance to make my shoulders parallel to the ground to facilitate the usual swing arc (with appropriate changes to ball position to accommodate the shift in low point). When the ball is above (or below) my feet do I need to make analogous changes to how I stand, and do I need to make changes to the arc of my backswing? Hope you can help clarify for me, thanks, Gordon.
December 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. You shouldn't need to change the arc of your backswing. The stance will have the ankles rolled in slightly to keep the weight from swaying excessively from one side to another. For example: let's say the ball is above your feet. If you start playing around with trying to swing inside going back or outside. You are going to really struggling maintaining your balance through the shot. The choking down of the club will help the low point stay correct and you are trying to merely rotate around the spine properly. The sidehill lie is tough. It takes practice and coordination to maintain balance.
December 28, 2016
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gordon
Craig, I have two conflicting images in my head as to how the club should contact the ball on a lie above my feet. One is wrong, but the embarrassing thing is I don't know which it is! Should I be trying to bring the club into the ball without allowing for the slope or should I be trying to match the club head to the ground beneath the ball? The former would mean no change to my swing arc/plane, whereas the latter would require me to swing more horizontally, having the club go behind my back where it has never "boldly gone before". Have patience with me, I am confused! Regards, Gordon.
December 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. The tendency will be for the swing path/arc to be a little more shallow. Due to the nature of the slope and ball above the feet. Your image might be that the club is swinging shallower or a little more inside than a normal shot. However, you don't want/need to try and force a more inside path. You make the setup adjustments with your normal swing. The choking up and conditions of the shot will take affect to the swing making a a hair more rounded.
December 28, 2016
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gordon
Thanks for the super-quick reply Craig. I am still not quite sure what is needed, but suspect I have been too steep. I am sure I be in the usual mess next time out on the course so I will experiment, - may have to come back to you! Best regards, Gordon.
December 28, 2016
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gordon
Craig, I checked it out and indeed I was too steep. The lies are more extreme than in the video, with the ball being 9 - 12 inches above my feet. In fact the weather was also more extreme, minus 2 deg C and freezing fog with visibility about 150 metres! Thanks for your guidance on this issue. I much appreciate the RTS approach and wish you and the RTS team all the best in 2017 Goordon.
January 2, 2017
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Krishna
Effective Shaft length for inclined lies - why cant one compensate for the slope by standing farther/closer?
November 3, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Standing farther or closer will inherently effect the swing plane the club is being swung on. You don't want to make those sort of compensations that could possibly change the way you move dynamically in the golf swing. Example: Standing further away, will cause the swing plane to be more flat and can lead to being stuck on the down swing on these shots and either hitting a block or quick, depending on how quick your hands are through the hitting area.
November 4, 2016
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Cullen
How do you roll in your ankles?
June 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Cullen. Take a look at Anchor to the Ground Video. You are keeping more pressure on the inside of the feet versus the outside.
June 7, 2016
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Robert James
Craig, while waiting for more lie videos, can you comment on a ball above your feet, but that is on a down hill or uphill lie as well? My course has lots of moguls and I find myself facing this all the time. What is the most important set up and execution rule until the videos come out? Thanks
July 25, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Bob. For Uphill/Above. Same Setup applies as here. Except ball will be slightly back, keep the tilt just inside the knee, and work hard to get the weight to transfer up the slope. For Down/Above. Same setup except ball will be a little more forward and keep the lead shoulder down.
July 27, 2015
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David
love this new series of videos! please add one for ball beneath the feet.
July 23, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. We will be releasing a below the feet in the future. Apologize for the wait.
July 23, 2015
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John
in all of these specialty shots do you still squat into your shot in the downswing?
June 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. There won't be a big squat into the shot. You are wanting to remain more stable than anything and not concerned with pulling leverage from the ground.
June 18, 2015
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Jeff
Is a "ball below your feet" video?, I don't know about other players but this would be helpful for beginners like myself. Because as you know all golf courses have many different lies...Thanks
May 30, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Jeff. The video is in queue. Apologize for the wait. Make sure you keep the weight back over the ankle joints missing more towards the heel. Work on maintaining your knee flex throughout the swing. The ball will tend to move right, so aim a touch left to balance out the potential movement.
May 30, 2015
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Franklin
Do all good players hit there 8 iron 180 yards?
March 29, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Franklin. Not everyone hits the 8 iron 180 yards. Everyone here at RST though are pretty long. Once, you learn good mechanics you will squeeze so more effortless juice out of the shot.
March 30, 2015
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Chris
180 yard 8 iron? How far do you hit a 4/5 iron? Is your drive 450?
March 17, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
I hit an 8 iron 178 max on a stock shot. So, this shot, I was ok going at it pretty hard to keep it underneath the hole. Not sure how a 180 yard 8 iron transpires into a 450 yard tee shot.
March 18, 2016
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Franklin
Thank you for the reply.
March 30, 2015
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mike
John, another tidbit on playing with the ball above your feet, and feel free to share your thoughts. When hitting this shot, the center of the clubface also changes direction, especially the more loft a club has. Does this mean aiming even further right (to compensate for a draw). Or should you open the face at address? Simple explanation - Take a wedge and put it on a table with the sole of the club flat on the table top. Then take a tee and put in on the clubface sweetspot. The tee points at an imaginary target straight ahead. Now, with you left hand flatten the lie angle (raising the toe to simulate ball above your feet). Notice the tee is now pointing left of your imaginary target.
March 25, 2015
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john
Yes, the club face direction does change with the ball above the feet lie. I used a Magnetic lie angle pointer, but tee will work fine to illustrate the point. (On the other hand, ball below the feet does not have the opposite effect. The club face does not point to right, not as much anyways...). I would agree with R.J. about aiming right with the ball above the feet lie instead of opening the club face (although I tend to take one or more clubs, choke it down, and open the club face a little to reduce the curvature of the ball because I don't how much draw I will get since I don't practice this shot enough...)
March 26, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, hold an iron level up to your face, looking at the back of the club. Hold a golf ball up against the face of the club and hold a tee up against the ball. The tee will point straight ahead. When you tilt the toe up a half an inch, look where the tee points. Move it back to square, then move the heel up half an inch and look where the tee points. The reason why it doesn't appear to move much when it's heel up with the magnetic lie angle pointer is because the loft messes with the appearance. However, the loft does not mess with the golf ball as it has a singular point of contact on the club face. You'll see that the angle of the lie has an equal affect on the target line of the ball. R.J.
March 26, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Mike, it's easier to aim a few yards left or right of the target than it is to open or shut the face. The more open the club face is in the backswing, the more it's going to want to swing shut in the downswing because of the momentum of the toe. As you see many professionals on the PGA tour who hit the power fade, they start their backswing with a closed face and the club rotates open in the downswing. I know it seems counter intuitive, but I hope it makes sense. R.J.
March 25, 2015
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john
It is not clear to me why the flatter swing path will cause the higher ball trajectory. I thought it was the steep swing path causes the higher ball flights. Also, why would the flatter swing path with the ball above the feet tend to cause hooks? Ball curvature is a function of the club face orientation relative to the swing path, not just the swing path...
March 22, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, it's all about angle of attack. A very steep path will cause a steep angle of attack, which takes loft off the club. The shorter the club, the steeper the path and angle of attack, the more loft required to get the ball airborne. The longer the club, the flatter the path, the more shallow the angle of attack, the less loft needed to get the ball airborne. There's a 3rd element to curvature that is rarely discussed, because if our clubs are fit for us perfectly, it shouldn't be an issue. And that's lie. When the club is too upright for us, it goes left. If it is too flat for us, it goes right. That's the same with above and below feet lies. I hope this alleviates any confusion. Good luck on your game, John! R.J.
March 23, 2015
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john
Thanks for you response, R.J. Again, it is not clear to me why more loft is required to get the ball airborne with the steeper angle of attack... Regarding the face angle, I completely understand. The reason why ball goes left with the upright club lie angle and ball above the feet lie is because the club face is pointing left at address and, consequently, at impact. This effect is more pronounced with the higher lofted clubs. This is easily observed with a magnetic lie angle pointer attached the the club face.
March 26, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, according to the PGA averages on www.trackmangolf.com, the average angle of attack for a driver (9* loft) is -1.3 degrees, the average angle of attack for a pitch wedge (45* loft) is -5.0 degrees. The average launch angle for a driver is 10.9 degrees. The average launch angle for a pitching wedge is 24.2 degrees. Despite the loft the pitching wedge being 5 times that of the driver, the launch angle is less than 2.5 times as high. The average maximum height for a driver on the PGA tour is 32 yards. The average maximum height for the PW on the PGA tour is 29 yards. Every golf club, when swung properly is meant to max out at the same height. A steeper angle of attack (a result of a steeper swing path) lowers the dynamic loft of a golf club, which is the loft of the face at impact. A more shallow angle of attack (a result of a more shallow swing plane) increases the dynamic loft at impact. I understand your thought process. You're thinking that the more vertical the swing path, the more loft there's going to be on the shot. It's counter intuitive in some respects, but unlike baseball where a vertical swing plane will cause pop-ups and a flat swing plane will cause line drives, the point of contact is different in the baseball scenario. In baseball, the point of contact in a vertical swing would be underneath the ball and the flat swing would be the front of ball. In golf, the point of contact is the same. R.J.
March 27, 2015
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john
Sorry, but I don't think my question is answered... I am trying to understand scientific cause and effect. You said, "A steeper angle of attack (a result of a steeper swing path) lowers the dynamic loft of a golf club, which is the loft of the face at impact." My question essentially is, WHY does the steeper angle of attack lowers the dynamic loft of the golf club?
March 29, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, when we hit a golf ball, we're making contact with the ball while the club is descending on the path that we're swinging on (with the exception of the driver, although most pros prefer to still hit with a slightly descending angle for more control). The more vertical (steeper) that path is, the more energy that is being released towards the ground on that path. With a flatter or more shallow path, less energy is transmitted towards the ground and more energy toward the target. In order to get the ball to launch when the majority of the energy is being transmitted towards the ground on a steeper path, loft is added to redirect the energy towards the target so we don't pound the ball into the ground. Now, if we were hitting the ball on an ascending blow with a more vertical plane (steeper AOA), then the ball would go higher than it would with a more shallow plane because the energy would be transmitted into the ball going away from the ground. However, that isn't really possible when we're hitting short clubs off the ground. One would need to tee the ball up and have the ball in a position forward enough in the stance where the club would make contact with the ball as the force of the club is ascending, much like using an upper cut swing in baseball. That was my point about the point of contact on the ball. For a more vertical plane to produce more height than a flatter plane, the ball would have to be struck from underneath when the club is moving on an ascending blow. I hope I did a better job of explaining it to you this time. R.J.
March 30, 2015
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Awesome, now do the below your feet ASAP!!
March 19, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Already filmed. Will be released soon.
March 19, 2015
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Andrew
It's been about 7 months now. Do you have it ready to post? Golffix has had it, but it seems like most of their content is not RST. My ball flight usually slices when balls are below my feet.
October 13, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Andrew. Let me get with the team. I will try to get this sorted out pronto.
October 13, 2015
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Andrew
Thanks Craig! Much appreciated and love RST!
October 13, 2015
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Arnie
For a new video on a specialty shot, how about hitting a ball out of a fairway divot?
March 19, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Arnel. Thanks for the suggestion!
March 19, 2015
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Thomas
180 yard 8 iron??? Can you show me how to do that mine only goes 145. I might get 180 yards down I-95. Just kidding good video.
March 19, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Post up and release it
March 19, 2015
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Marcus
howabout a video, "ball below the feet"?
March 19, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
This video is complete and will be coming out very soon
March 19, 2015

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