Unlike the driving range or the tee box where your ball is struck from a straight, flat lie, you'll often find yourself on a fairway facing a downhill lie shot where the ball is awkwardly positioned below your feet. A downhill lie will produce a left-to-right ball flight, so you must accommodate for this outcome. The downhill slope deprives the club of its normal loft, and because the ground is higher behind the ball than a normal, flat lie, golfers tend to hit the ground first before hitting the ball. Club selection is important here. If you are faced with the slightest downhill lie, use a more lofted club, which will decrease your distance, but produce a higher trajectory. There are a few easy steps to remember when faced with this dilemma, and once you get accustomed to the downhill lie shot, you'll approach the situation with confidence and comfort.
Align your shoulders parallel to the hill. This alignment is important to avoid scooping the ball.
Place the ball about 2 to 4 inches farther back in your stance than you would if you were on a flat lie. Place slightly more weight on your front foot. Your left shoulder should be slightly lower than if you were on a flat lie. This setup will produce a steeper swing, assisting you in striking the ball cleanly.
Maintain the weight placement in your downswing on your left side, as you did in the setup. Take a high lofted club, like a 7 iron, and swing down the slope using a smooth acceleration through to impact. Allow your body weight to go with the clubhead's rhythm. This will promote a steeper angle of approach, allowing you to strike the ball cleanly rather than taking turf and leaving a huge divot.
Tips & Warnings
If your ball lands in deep grass on a downhill lie, try placing the ball back in your stance off your right heel. This will ensure that the club will make contact with the ball quickly.
In a downhill slope, the natural tendency is to lift or scoop the ball up. Instead, you want to chase the ball down the slope, extending the clubhead down the slope through impact.