When you miss the green and want to pitch it close, you’ll often find yourself with an uphill lie, simply because of the topography of many greens.
An uphill lie will increase your effective angle of attack. If you are playing from a fluffy lie, then an increased angle of attack is highly desirable, since it helps you make clean contact with the ball – all you have to do is make your swing a little longer so that you create more club head speed to lift the ball out of the rough and carry it to your selected landing spot.
If you have a clean lie, however, an increased angle of attack can cause problems because it makes it more difficult to use the bounce on the sole of the club properly. It presents more of the sharp leading edge of the club to the ball and to the turf, and thus increases your chances of either hitting the shot fat or skulling it over the green.
How to Pitch and Chip from an Upslope
Playing quality finesse shots from an uphill lie requires you to shallow out your angle of attack by altering your swing plane and delivering the club from inside the target line, and thus dramatically improving the quality of your contact. Exactly as if you were trying to draw the shot.
- Start by setting up to the ball with your regular Pitching & Chipping technique, but open your stance more than usual to the target line – see Figure 1.
- As you start your swing, take the club back a little more to the inside than usual, so that it feels “under the plane” or “laid off” – see Figure 2.
- Now think “draw” as you swing down, creating an inside-out swing and a shallower angle of attack that will enable you to most effectively use the bounce on the sole of the club and catch the ball solidly – see Figure 3.
The combination of an open stance and an inside-out draw swing will mean that the angle of attack will be shallower but you will still deliver the club down the target line, and so the ball will fly straight.
This shot also works really well if the ball is “sitting up” in the rough, suspended above the ground by the grass. In this situation, making the same adjustments (open stance, draw swing) with a less lofted club will pick the ball nicely off the grass and give you great touch.
This article forms part of the Golf Loopy Pitch & Chip like a Champion series, the sensational new pitching and chipping game improvement system that will help you to improve every aspect of your performance around the greens. The improvements will be dramatic, and they will be permanent.