Stance Adjustments for Uphill and Downhill Lies

When I was a kid, my father got me interested in playing golf by having me chase his chip shots into the neighbor's yard. After a while, that 'game' got pretty boring. So one evening my father came home with my first golf set, with a golf bag and some clubs. I was ready for the big time. I dreamed of become a pro. But little did I know that my 'career' would consist mostly of uphill and downhill lies.

Unusual Uphill and Downhill Lies

The first golf course I would play would be near our cottage some fifty years ago. I called it the Farmer's Field Course (FFC). Initially it was a nine-hole course carved out of farmer's fields, hence the name. It was so new that the fairways still had a few leftover cow patties.

But you know what? Back then, I could play all day on the FFC for 75 cents. Just 75 cents!

The fact that the grass on the FFC greens was the same as the grass on the fairway, only cut lower, was lost on me: As was the 'sand' in the half-a-dozen sand traps. It was probably dredged from a beach at the nearby lake.

But there were three unusual golf lies back then that would challenge even the most capable pro on the PGA Tour today. The stories surrounding these golf lies have grown over the years just like some truly astounding fish stories. Moreover, the stances required to deal with each of these golf lies must be considered rather miraculous.

Up a Tree

The fifth hole of the FFC is a par three. For today's pro, it would require a pitching wedge; for me, as a nine-year-old, it required a three wood.

One particular Saturday, my mighty swing yielded a very thin shot that launched itself high into the air, traveled thirty years before arching down into the crotch of a nearby tree, probably nine feet above the ground. My stance consisted of sitting on my father's shoulders and flailing away with a nine iron. TIP: Never sky your shot into a tree. Unless you're golfing with your Dad and he can hoist you on his shoulders.

Poison Ivy Lie

As a kid at the cottage, I knew all about poison ivy. This noxious plant could ruin a perfectly good summer. In the case of this story, it probably caused me to shoot a 'double snowman,' which I did many times at the FFC. At least I got plenty of practice.

On the seventh hole, the only par five on the FFC, a hedgerow lined the left side of the fairway. Hidden in the golf rough fronting the row were patches of poison ivy.

My drive off the tee ended up beside such a patch, but not in it. In order to hit my second shot, I had to gingerly balance my downhill stance on a farmer's wooden fence, and not fall into the ivy. TIP: Avoid poison ivy on the golf course. Or avoid golf courses with poison ivy.

Snapping Turtle Hazard

On the eight hole of the FFC was a small pond beside the green. One of the residents of the pond was a rather large, stinky snapping turtle with a bad temper.

With my ball lying four feet from the turtle sunning itself beside the green, I intelligently chose a driver instead of a putter. Intelligent? It was my longest club, and therefore my stance was as far away from the turtle as possible. TIP: Avoid snapping turtle hazards. Or golf courses with snapping turtles.

Tiger Woods has an amazing ability to problem solve difficult and challenging golf lies. One of the most challenging courses in Illinois is the Big Run Golf Course in Lockport where one commentator has written, "Big Run features hundreds of oak trees . . . and the course has many hazards, as eight holes have water and sand traps are plentiful...[and there are] large changes in elevation and unique water hazards and sand traps." Tiger might even find snapping turtles at Big Run.

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Stone, D. (n.d.). Big Run Golf Club. Retrieved from

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