Save for the par-3 holes, there are few even lies at Crystal Springs. Every fairway is sloped to some degree, meaning golfers are going to face shots where the ball is either above or below their feet. Here’s how to play both of those shots.
BALL ABOVE YOUR FEET
As a rule of thumb the ball will follow the slope, so a ball above the feet of a right-handed player will tend to pull left. Choke up on the club and aim right of the target, adjusting accordingly based on the severity of the slope. Golfers typically hit the ball more solidly when it is a little above their feet, so don’t be surprised if you hit it as far—if not a little farther—than usual.
Alter your posture and stand a little taller to help your body match the lie. As for the yardage, I suggest playing your normal club if the slope is only slight. If the lie is more severe, take more club and swing smoothly.
BALL BELOW YOUR FEET
This is the tougher of the two lies. The first priority for this shot is to make solid contact, which most golfers seldom do because the tendency is to swing too hard. It is important to make smooth stroke with more of an arm swing and try not to drive your legs. On a flat lie, the hips naturally rise slightly through impact; you do not want this when the ball is below your feet or the result will be a very thin or topped shot.
You again need to alter your posture, in this case by bending more from the knees. Adjust your aim opposite the slope (aim left for right-handed golfers), plus take one or two more clubs to compensate for the added difficulty of hitting the ball flush.
Greg Coplin is the head of instruction at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame.