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A lot of attention gets put on "sucker pins" that tempt people into going into the flag but  are just mental traps. What doesnt get talked about much is Sucker Lies. By that I mean lies that look innocent but huge chunks or huge pulls or blocks lurk if you dont pay close attention and take your normal stance. My home course is rightfully called "Cliffside" and there arent many flat lies, even most of the tee boxes arent flat. The local grass driving ranges are the same.

 

One particular event really made this painful for me to watch..at the local range, a man was giving some instruction to a family of junior golfers. The poor girl that was hitting at the time was at part of the station that had a downhill lie and was consequently hitting every thing fat because the ground was higher behind the ball. Could it of been part of the instruction? I doubt it. Did mention ti to the group but not much was made of it. The girl was getting awfully frustrated with the contact. Another range is similiar except its mostly ball above your feet for 90% of the range. Usually takes me a shot or two to remember that fat as its just subtle enough to get you if you're not paying attention. If I dont warmup before playing, usually takes me a shot or two on those kind of lies till my "eyes calibrate" and i can see that the ball is a bit closer to me than normal.

 

The purpose of the thread is to get some tips out there on how to catch these subtle little things that can cause some frustration. One thing I have done is to do a bit of Aimpoint Express getting the slope , especially when trying to find a level spot(or closest thing to) on a tee box that demands a fade played but the box makes the ball over your feet.

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A lot of attention gets put on "sucker pins" that tempt people into going into the flag but  are just mental traps. What doesnt get talked about much is Sucker Lies. By that I mean lies that look inno

When all else fails, you just have to practice the shot. Either find a way to simulate it or drop some balls at that spot on a practice round.

Trust your feet. They will always tell you the truth about slope.

I had this other day... very un-level tee box.... used some time and my feet to find a more level lie IE aimpoint stuff. 
Also ended up taking advantage of two club lenghts back rule too. Helped alot. 
 

The hanging lie is tough. Above the feet the ball is CLOSER to you so you have to stand further away. Alot of times golfers think this lie promotes a hook/ draw but often people will pull it. You have to know what you tend to do. I generally pull it. 
 

Hard packed sand in Bunker. Another sucker lie. See alot of people skull it and nuke it over the green. Saw a great vid from Monte Sheinblum... square face and use LESS speed In the swing.... ball comes out easy peasy. No skull.  Go practice after a hard rain and try it. You will be surprised how far you can hit it and how easy ball comes out. Play for roll due to little spin. 
 

Tight green side lie with grain into you and the ball has to go up over front of the elevated edge of the green to a front or middle pin. This is esp tough if its wet. I have this shot alot in the area I live in ( south Louisiana). The sixty may be dig / chilidip city. Take a fairway wood (3/4/5... whatever) grip down to end of the grip and get club on the toe and “ putt” it. Ball trundles on the green. Practice it.... foolproof. hybrids work too. Ive done it with long irons but prefer the wider woods. 
 


 

 

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On 9/14/2020 at 4:45 PM, SNIPERBBB said:

The purpose of the thread is to get some tips out there on how to catch these subtle little things that can cause some frustration.

 

make reading the lie part of your pre-shot routine.

 

and for tricky lies, take as many casual practice swings as you need to bruise the grass; and pay attention to where you club makes contact with the turf so you can set up to the ball accordingly. 

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Whenever I talk to high-handicappers on the golf course about shot selection, I try to reinforce that the process leading to club selection (or shot shape, if you have a choice) does NOT start with "distance". I get a lot of "oh, wow, I never thought of that" when I tell them that my decision pruning looks like this:

  • Lie of ball (fairway, rough, sand, tee, etc.)
  • Lie of ground (ball above, ball below, uphill, downhill, etc)
  • Weather conditions (wind, temperature, fog, etc)
  • Safest "miss" area (short, long, left, right)
  • Expected conditions of preferred landing spot (firm, wet)
  • Distance to preferred landing area

Granted, it doesn't take long, and it's pretty well ingrained so I don't even think consciously about it, but making it explicit for people is kind of cool - it gives them a different perspective. I'm proud I've taught my 27 handicap wife to use the same process, and she's actually quite good at making a good decision. Might not always execute the shot, but then again, we ALL have that problem!

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Important point also is knowing your limitations. If you have a ball in the rough With 220 to the green, trouble lurking left ( water, deep bunkers, black holes whatever) and you have to hit a high shot to a back pin.... maybe take a second and think “ do I have the ability to hit this shot 8/10 times and pull it off”? If answer is no hit a different shot that may give you a better chance of success... even if that means a punch out to a new distance. This is how you manage that course in front of you and avoid a big blowup hole. Hitting the “ hero “ shot may work once but playing the percentages is prob better for an avg golfer esp if you are high hdc. I am a single digit (5-6) and play my best when I make assessments like this on the course. 
knowing where the “ safest miss” is helps alot. 

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* Target not visible from tee box, due to downward slope starting several yards ahead of tee. Several of the fairways I played at the weekend were like that and two were dog leg lefts. So if you're new to the course you're unsure if it's safe to use your driver and you can only guess at the direction.

* Target visible but steep upward slope. So you're not sure how much distance you're going to lose.

 

I found these messed with my head quite badly. I didn't lose any balls but I topped a couple off the tee and put a strong fade on most of the rest.

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One keeps getting me and I need to figure it out. Ball below my feet, okay that's not too hard but the hole shape causes another issue. To hit at the green I have to angle myself a bit so my front foot is lower than my back foot. So it's ball below my feet with a touch of a downhill lie all mixed together. I recall hitting it fat before and yesterday I topped the ball in such a way that it went almost 90* right of my target line and traveled 40ish yards. I need to stop hitting my ball onto that slope....

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10 minutes ago, bortass said:

One keeps getting me and I need to figure it out. Ball below my feet, okay that's not too hard but the hole shape causes another issue. To hit at the green I have to angle myself a bit so my front foot is lower than my back foot. So it's ball below my feet with a touch of a downhill lie all mixed together. I recall hitting it fat before and yesterday I topped the ball in such a way that it went almost 90* right of my target line and traveled 40ish yards. I need to stop hitting my ball onto that slope....

There's a few holes at my course I go back and forth with in trying to avoid the downhill lie. The issue is the shot of the tee to stay short of that lie is more dangerous to miss than the miss with driver.

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1 hour ago, SNIPERBBB said:

There's a few holes at my course I go back and forth with in trying to avoid the downhill lie. The issue is the shot of the tee to stay short of that lie is more dangerous to miss than the miss with driver.

  For me it's on a par 5 that curves to the right and it's an approach shot. Hit a decent ball in the fairway off the tee. I'm not long enough to clear the corner off the teebox. So if I fade my second shot, it'll follow the curve of the hole past the corner. If I hit it straight or a draw my ball will go through the fairway into the slope that makes up the entire left side of the hole once you clear the corner. If the shot was just ball below my feet or just a downhill lie, no problem. I understand those. Add both together and I have no clue. Think I need to just use a shorter club and try a simple swing to lay up versus trying to reach the green with a longer iron.

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I can never make decent contact on a downhill lie to save my life.

 

First hole I regularly play that comes to mind is #16 at Rustic Canyon. It's basically the "going down the mountain" hole - really elevated tee box, quick drop then flattens out a bit then real steep downhill. Yardage is around 450 but if you get around 220-230 carry or so, it's going to jump on the far end of the flatter area and run down the hill ... but I've NEVER seen it get to the bottom (for me or anyone I've played with - and some of my homeys hit it a long way); so I dunno how many times I've wound up with like 130 in ... so with the elevation in mind, it's basically a knockdown 52° from a steep downhill lie. 

 

But I swear, EVERY TIME I've tried that I end up just skulling it and sending it like a damn cannon ball over the green. I've taken to hitting 4 iron off that tee to keep it in the flatter area just so I don't have to try to knock down a wedge on a steep downhill lie. I'd rather have a 220 yards in. 

 

I love that course but man, I hate that hole. More than a few rounds have met their scoring demise there. 

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44 minutes ago, aenemated said:

I can never make decent contact on a downhill lie to save my life.

 

First hole I regularly play that comes to mind is #16 at Rustic Canyon. It's basically the "going down the mountain" hole - really elevated tee box, quick drop then flattens out a bit then real steep downhill. Yardage is around 450 but if you get around 220-230 carry or so, it's going to jump on the far end of the flatter area and run down the hill ... but I've NEVER seen it get to the bottom (for me or anyone I've played with - and some of my homeys hit it a long way); so I dunno how many times I've wound up with like 130 in ... so with the elevation in mind, it's basically a knockdown 52° from a steep downhill lie. 

 

But I swear, EVERY TIME I've tried that I end up just skulling it and sending it like a damn cannon ball over the green. I've taken to hitting 4 iron off that tee to keep it in the flatter area just so I don't have to try to knock down a wedge on a steep downhill lie. I'd rather have a 220 yards in. 

 

I love that course but man, I hate that hole. More than a few rounds have met their scoring demise there. 

 I hear ya! Worst is a downhill side hill lie ( I have these all the time at Augusta ..... I jest). 
Ive found the trick is to 1) set shoulders along the slope ( ie you may have to tilt left shoulder “ down” if its a downhill lie) and 2). For me ball always comes out lower and running so plan for that. 3) Goal is to get ball on green shmaybe near the hole ?. Its a tough shot. 

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for some reason, my nemesis (besides the obvious downhill lie) is a sidehill lie where the lie and shot shape align. Meaning, if the ball is above my feet, it should promote a draw. And the pin is tucked behind a bunker on the left side of the green, so a draw would be the desired shape. Perfect. Aim at the right center of the green, make good contact, ball should move right to left towards the hole.

 

And that's the theory, but instead it fades several yards and I am in the right side fringe. Every time. Every time.

 

Well then, eventually you would think to just aim at the pin then. Yes, that is reasonable. But of course that is the one time the ball moves like crazy, and I'm 8 yards into the rough with a short sided pin. Sucker. 

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19 minutes ago, scooterhd2 said:

for some reason, my nemesis (besides the obvious downhill lie) is a sidehill lie where the lie and shot shape align. Meaning, if the ball is above my feet, it should promote a draw. And the pin is tucked behind a bunker on the left side of the green, so a draw would be the desired shape. Perfect. Aim at the right center of the green, make good contact, ball should move right to left towards the hole.

 

And that's the theory, but instead it fades several yards and I am in the right side fringe. Every time. Every time.

 

Well then, eventually you would think to just aim at the pin then. Yes, that is reasonable. But of course that is the one time the ball moves like crazy, and I'm 8 yards into the rough with a short sided pin. Sucker. 

It's a weird phenomenon.couple weeks ago I had a shot where ball above my feet, grab the hookyist club in the bag, 2h, aim right and the darn thing fades. I'm not sure if it's because I tend to play the ball farther back in my stance to prevent hitting fat or something els e.

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On 9/17/2020 at 12:44 AM, aenemated said:

I can never make decent contact on a downhill lie to save my life.

 

First hole I regularly play that comes to mind is #16 at Rustic Canyon. It's basically the "going down the mountain" hole - really elevated tee box, quick drop then flattens out a bit then real steep downhill. Yardage is around 450 but if you get around 220-230 carry or so, it's going to jump on the far end of the flatter area and run down the hill ... but I've NEVER seen it get to the bottom (for me or anyone I've played with - and some of my homeys hit it a long way); so I dunno how many times I've wound up with like 130 in ... so with the elevation in mind, it's basically a knockdown 52° from a steep downhill lie. 

 

But I swear, EVERY TIME I've tried that I end up just skulling it and sending it like a damn cannon ball over the green. I've taken to hitting 4 iron off that tee to keep it in the flatter area just so I don't have to try to knock down a wedge on a steep downhill lie. I'd rather have a 220 yards in. 

 

I love that course but man, I hate that hole. More than a few rounds have met their scoring demise there. 

Based on your handicap, you are a much better golfer than me.  But i have this shot a lot at my course and the pro gave me a tip.  Basically, plan to step through the shot into your follow through.  By that i mean, once the ball has left the club and you rotate through, step with your trail foot toward the target.  When you are on a downhill lie, you want to keep your weight back to avoid falling down the hill, meaning you dont transfer weight to the lead foot, thus hanging back and skulling the shot.  So by planning to step through in the follow through, you know your weight will head down the hill allowing solid contact.  

 

I only do this on steep downhill shots, but it truly works and i get some of the crispest wedge contacts going because you make such a good turn through the shot.

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12 hours ago, UKGolfer86 said:

Based on your handicap, you are a much better golfer than me.  But i have this shot a lot at my course and the pro gave me a tip.  Basically, plan to step through the shot into your follow through.  By that i mean, once the ball has left the club and you rotate through, step with your trail foot toward the target.  When you are on a downhill lie, you want to keep your weight back to avoid falling down the hill, meaning you dont transfer weight to the lead foot, thus hanging back and skulling the shot.  So by planning to step through in the follow through, you know your weight will head down the hill allowing solid contact.  

 

I only do this on steep downhill shots, but it truly works and i get some of the crispest wedge contacts going because you make such a good turn through the shot.

 

Thanks for the tips!

 

I probably most struggle with them due to just not playing particularly hilly courses ... kinda ever. I grew up playing in the sandhills of North Carolina (not far from Pinehurst) where most courses were pretty flat ... and the majority of courses around here in LA we play, also pretty flat. Pretty rare I encounter too many super hilly lies - like the aforementioned.

 

And this is also why I'll probably never score halfway decent at Spyglass. That course kicks the hell outta me. As the caddy noted, "It ain't called Spyglass Flats." Haha

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