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Uphill Pitch Shots Made Easy


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Even players with good touch have trouble with uphill pitches, often sticking their wedges into the turf and leaving these shots well short of the pin. Their mistake is playing the uphill shot exactly as they would one of the same length from a flat lie. To compensate for an upslope lie, you need to make three easy changes.

1) Tilt your shoulders so they are parallel to the slope. Angling your shoulders so they mirror the slope has two advantages. First, it allows you to make a full follow-through. Second, having a follow through greatly enlarges your margin for error through impact. If you don't align your shoulders correctly, contact must be perfect: Hit it fat, and the ball goes nowhere, hit it thin, and the ball is driven into the slope, bounces straight up in the air, and, again, goes nowhere. But with your shoulders parallel to the slope, hitting a little fat or thin can still produce an acceptable result.

2) Let the slope tell you which club to use. Since the upslope adds loft to the shot (when your shoulder line tilts, the shaft tilts back the same amount), you must use an iron with less loft. The swing length is he same for the uphill pitch, only the club has changed.

Which club? Check the hill:
For every four or five degrees of upslope, use one more club than you'd normally use (the loft difference between clubs also is four to five degrees). If you're on a 15-degree slope at a distance from which you'd usually hit a lob wedge, hit a 9-iron instead (that's three clubs more - lob wedge, sand wedge, pitching wedge, 9-iron). The extra loft of the hill is matched by the reduced loft of the club, so the result will be about the same.

3) Make the same length swing. Your swing should be the same length as if you were on a flat lie using the original club (in this case, the lob wedge). Don't be fooled by whatever is written on the club: That 9-iron is no longer a 9-iron; because of the upslope, it's a lob wedge, so make a swing long enough to get a lob wedge to the hole.

Stick all this information in the back of your mind, marked with a small red flag that pops up whenever you face an uphill pitch somewhere around the green. Then make the three adjustments: Tilt your shoulders, use a less-lofted club, and make the same length swing. A little practice from different slopes with different clubs will help you see how they produce various shots. Then, you'll be able to handle uphill lies - no matter how sharp the slope!

For FREE golf help, tips, instructions, equipment reviews, news and more please visit Golf Swing Digest today!


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