While not as intimidating as other uneven lies the shot from an uphill lie still commands respect and requires adjustments. Balance will be an issue as your two feet won’t be level and the ball’s level won’t even match any of the two, sitting somewhere between the two. Also, while it will be relatively easy to get the ball into the air, failure to tweak your setup will mean that the ball will travel too high and won’t reach the full distance required. Follow the tips below on how to hit a golf shot from an uphill lie. And if you are looking for the opposite scenario, head over to our tips on how to hit from a downhill lie.
Account for the fact your front foot is higher than your back and that ball will fly higher than normal (and for a shorter distance).
Position the Ball Forward a Little
Thanks to its position in front of you the ball’s level won’t match any of your feet’s, i.e. it sits lower than your front foot but higher than your back foot. If you don’t think about the ball positioning at all while setting up and if you position the ball too far back in your stance you could run the risk of seeing the ball sitting too low in contrast to your feet. This can result in a whiff where you would swing above the ball and miss it entirely, costing you a stroke. To make sure the ball is not too low, favour a forward ball position rather than a ball back or a ball center position.
Take a Wider Stance
Because you are standing on uneven ground balance will immediately be an issue while setting up. Indeed, the hill will tend to move your weight back and may even throw you off balance over the course of your golf swing. In order to help keep your balance throughout widen your stance, that is position your feet away from each a little more than they normally would be. A wider stance will help you in executing a confident swing without fear of falling out of position.
Match the Slope of the Hill with your Shoulders
The main risk associated with an uphill lie is seeing your clubhead penetrate the ground deeply, oftentimes producing a fat shot or worse seeing the club failing to reach the ball at all. This can happen especially if you stand erect with your spine in a perfectly vertical position. Such a spine angle doesn’t allow for the club to brush the grass from an upslope but will rather encourage it to dig deep into the ground. To help protect against this risk position your spine so that it is perpendicular to the ground, as it is when hitting a shot from a flat surface.
Use One More Club
Because of the upslope and because you are matching your spine to reflect the uneven terrain the effective loft of your club will be modified as a consequence. Indeed, rather than being perfectly flat on an even terrain your club will be angled back so that it rests flat against the upslope. This angled back position effectively adds degrees of loft to your club. Therefore you can expect to hit higher shots from an uphill lie but also shots that travel a shorter distance when compared to a normal shot with that same club from a flat lie. To account for that change in loft and ball flight you will need to club up, i.e. to use one more club than would normally be required. Note that depending on how severe the sidehill, that club adjustment may call for a two club difference, or maybe none at all…
Transfer your Weight to the Front Foot at the Follow Through
The upslope will naturally try to push your weight towards your back foot. Still you will need to fight against this in order to execute a proper weight transfer and a solid shot. Indeed, failing to transfer your weight from your right foot to your left, regardless of the lie, will not produce a quality golf shot. So as you begin to swing, aim to finish your follow through with your weight solidly on your left foot, up the hill.