HILLY LIESYou finally hit a fairway only to find you've got a side hill lie. You immediate begin to hyperventilate, "Why oh why did this have to happen to me!" You stand over the shot, grip now slick from your sweat drenched palms, and you proceed to hit it two inches fat advancing the ball about 20 yards. Good thing is at least now you've got a flat lie.
Here's how to approach the 4 possible uneven lies so this never (ok seldom) happens to you again.
UPHILL AND DOWNHILL LIES
Ball position, balance, and a little knee flex are the key components to these shots. First you want to bend the "higher knee" a little more than the lower at address, leveling yourself to the ground somewhat. Don't go crazy with this, just a little depending on the severity of the slope. The goal is to level your hips as much as possible.
Ball position is crucial on these shots. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that because you have a downhill lie you have to play the ball forward to get more loft out of the club. A lot of topped shots were born from this kind of thinking. Always play the ball more towards "your higher foot". On down hill lies play it further back, uphill lies further forward. You'll have to figure out just how much for yourself, as it depend on the severity of the slope. Figure anywhere from 1-6" as a guide.
Swing along the slope of the ground. The bent higher knee should help you keep from falling forward or back. Obviously a downhill lie will come out lower and "hotter", and an uphill lie higher and softer. Club accordingly.
The main thing to remember here is to choke down a bit when the ball is above your feet and stand a little taller. Bend a bit more from the waist when it's below your feet and use all the grip. Make your normal swing otherwise. (remember choking down will cost you a little distance, so again, club accordingly.)
When the ball is above your feet on a side hill lie the tendency is to pull the shot. The opposite is true when the ball is below your feet, where the tendency is to push the shot. So aim slightly left or right depending on which lie you're dealing with.
Uneven lies shouldn't be much of a problem once you get "the feel" for them. (there's that word again.) What makes these hard to master for a lot of us is there's really no where to practice them.(unless you can find a driving range with mats at 45 degree angles!)
But at least now you know how to approach them, which is more than half the battle.
NOTE: If you're faced with this shot more than a few times a round your best bet is to find a course not designed for mountain goats.