Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell has just become the first European to win the US Open in 40 years and it was no surprise he did so at a links course. Pebble Beack throws up numerous changes in elevation and awkward lies and here he tells you how to play a shot off a downhill lie: The Downhill Lie
One of the reasons golf is such a fascinating sport is all the different lies you encounter in any one round. It would be a very one-dimensional game if every time you addressed your ball it was on a perfectly level patch of ground.
When you play links golf, especially, you never know whether you will be hitting an uphill or downhill shot, or whether the ball will be above or below your feet. Each time the ball is in a different position, there is a slightly different technique required.
Success depends so much on balance, and being able to keep that balance right through the shot.
The ground is trying to push your weight in one direction, which adds to the difficulty. It’s also important to understand how different lies will affect the direction your ball will go.
The first thing to try to do is to get your shoulders to tilt so that they follow the shape of the hill. On downhill shots (assuming you are a right-hander) your left shoulder should be lower than your right. The steeper the hill the steeper the shoulder tilt.
It’s also really important to understand that you need to retain this posture and shoulder alignment through the shot, so that your address position is repeated at impact. Make a conscious effort to stay down more on this type of shot. Very often the temptation is to ‘help’ the ball up with your body. But, you’ve got to trust the loft on the clubface.
Remember, a 7-iron becomes a 5-iron on this sort of slope. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got enough loft to get it up and over any obstacles in your way. The ball is going to have a lower flight to it, as well as going slightly left to right.