Conquer Downhill Lies With Dave Pelz

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In golf, learning how to get out of trouble is much more important than learning how to stay out of trouble. But most golfers never practice the damage control skills needed for escaping these situations.

At nearly all ranges, you practice on flat-level lies with good grass—not in high grass, creek beds, with your right foot eight inches higher than your left or in any other problem [situations] golfers find on the course.

The fundamental problem is that your normal golf swing doesn't work when you get into trouble spots. So you've got to learn how to reposition your body so you can swing a golf club appropriate to the situation you're facing.

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In golf, learning how to get out of trouble is much more important than learning how to stay out of trouble. But most golfers never practice the damage control skills needed for escaping these situations.

At nearly all ranges, you practice on flat-level lies with good grass—not in high grass, creek beds, with your right foot eight inches higher than your left or in any other problem [situations] golfers find on the course.

The fundamental problem is that your normal golf swing doesn't work when you get into trouble spots. So you've got to learn how to reposition your body so you can swing a golf club appropriate to the situation you're facing.

To simulate a downhill lie, we've created a platform from a four-foot by four-foot piece of plywood and covered it with artificial grass. We use concrete blocks to angle the platform approximately six to eight inches from the ground.

Whether you're practicing on a homemade platform in your back yard or setting up a shot from a sloping lie on the course, follow these tips so you can escape trouble without losing more than one shot.

• Set your shoulders parallel to the downward slope
• Grip one to two inches down on the shaft
• Spread your feet to create an extra wide stance
• Play the ball one to two inches back from your normal set up
• Keep your weight shifted toward your back foot
• Shift your weight downhill as you turn through the shot
• Keep your head perfectly still
• Don't flub the shot and hit it into the creek or out of bounds! We call that "going from the frying pan into the fire"


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