It is very easy for an approach shot to the green to only slightly miss the target and for the ball to finish up on a bank close to the green.
This can leave an awkward downhill lie to the green and make a recovery shot seem very difficult. The pitch required may only be about 50 yards in length but it’s the slope which makes this shot seem tougher than a normal pitch, from flat ground.
Unless you are playing this short off a bare lie, there are a few things which you need to get in place to play what is a tricky shot from a greenside downslope.
When choosing the club, remember being on the downslope will decrease the loft on the club, so take more loft than you would normally. You can open the face of the club when playing this shot but remember it could easily slide under the ball so be careful doing that.
To become aligned to the flag, it is often easier to pick something closer to the ball as a target. Doing this will ensure you keep the right line, without having to keep looking up to check the position of the flag.
You can choose anything which is in-front of the ball on the ground.
The set-up when playing off a greenside downslope is very important and you should adopt a slightly narrower stance then usual. A good way to get the correct stance is to use the grip of your club as a guide. Your stance should be roughly the same width as the grip, around 10 inches.
As you are on a slope, it is more comfortable to lean towards your lead side and you can place 60% of your body weight on your leading leg when playing this shot. However, you must keep your body weight distribution the same throughout the shot.
The ball should be slightly behind centre and your hands need to be soft on the club, so you can feel a little movement.
The temptation when playing off a greenside downslope is to use the wrists and try and scope the ball into the air. This usually results in a topped shot and a high possibility of having to play the same shot again.
To avoid this, think about the technique of this shot like an underarm throw. When you throw a ball, your arm does not stop as soon as the ball is released from your hand, it continues in a forward motion.
If your trailing arm does the same when playing off a greenside slope, you will have a better chance of producing a good shot than if you stop your arm dead having contacted the ball.