The biggest mistake I see amateurs make when facing uphill lies with an uphill approach is severely under-clubbing. They simply think a ball will travel as far as it would from a level lie to a “flat” target. Of course, that’s not the case, no matter how far you are from the hole.
In this situation (Photo 1), I have 90 yards to clear to the front of the green, about a 10-foot elevation change and an uphill lie. My 56-degree sand wedge is my 90-yard club under flat conditions. I would take one more club to account for the elevation, but amateurs often fail to adjust for the uphill lie as well.
In this case, where the elevation change equates to only one extra club and the uphill lie creates a situation that turns the pitching wedge back to a sand wedge loft, take even more club. Make sure your shoulders are parallel to the slope at set-up and take a 9-iron instead of a sand wedge (Photo 2). Aim a little more right of your target (for right-handers) as the uphill lie will also tend to draw the ball. (Photo 3).
Make your normal swing motion, maintaining constant grip pressure and an even swing tempo from takeaway to follow-through (Photos 4-6). And don’t forget to hold that pose with a nice full finish!
Randy Chang is Director of Golf Instruction at the Journey at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.