Why is it so easy to chunk a chip shot from an uphill lie? We saw even the best golfers in the world struggle with that shot last weekend at the Hero World Challenge, so it's no surprise amateurs have a hard time pulling that shot off consistently.
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PGA Professional Rodd Slater, Head Golf Professional at Two Rivers Golf Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D., said it all has to do with how we typically balance ourselves on a slanted surface.
"Most people have a tendency to lean into the hill, so as you swing the club, the club will tend to dig into the grass," Slater said.
So what do you need to do when facing an uphill chip shot to an elevated green?
1. Move the ball forward in your stance
2. Move your weight towards your back foot
3. Use a less lofted club
Slater credits Manuel de la Torre -- the first recipient of the National PGA Teacher of the Year Award and a member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame -- with providing the tips that he currently uses.
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De la Torre instructs his students to do the opposite of what feels "normal" in this particular instance. Instead of trying to lean into the hill to steady yourself, shift your weight to the point where your center of gravity is perpendicular to the hill -- so in essence, try to make your stance level relative to the slope.
"First, on an uphill pitch shot or any shot where you're on an upslope, you need to move the ball forward in your stance and your weight towards your back foot, proportionate to the slope," Slater said. "That way, you're swinging with the terrain."
And use a club that has less loft, Slater said, because the ball will already come up with a higher trajectory.
"As you're leaning with the hill, you're adding loft to the club face," Slater said. "So the ball will come out very high. So if you normally use a sand wedge, you might want to use a 9-iron so that when the ball is struck, it goes forward instead of straight up in the air."
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Remember, because the ball won't have as much roll as with a normal chip, you'll need to land it closer to the hole. So take that into consideration. And concentrate on making a smooth sweeping swing rather than a steep downward strike.
Do the opposite if you're on a downslope, Slater said. Move your weight forward and the ball back in your stance, and use a club with added loft to play the same type of shot.
Remember: On an upslope, the ball goes forward, weight goes back.