Private Lessons: How to chip the ball off a tricky sidehill lie

Wednesday March 15th, 2017
The slope makes your swing plane flatter, so don't fight it. To stay balanced, keep your chest over the ball throughout the swing.
GRAHAM GACHES

When you watch the Masters on TV, it's hard to appreciate the huge amounts of slope and undulation at Augusta National Golf Club. If a player misses the green, he can expect to find himself facing an array of uneven lies, including a ball above his feet. Here's how to chip it close from this tricky position.

SETUP: GET TALLER

To avoid fat or pulled shots, stand taller at address, which helps adjust for the slope.
GRAHAM GACHES

When the ball is well above your feet, it's easy to pull the ball left (due to the club's more upright lie) or catch the shot heavy (since your chest is much closer to the ball). To avoid these misses, make the following setup adjustments: First, stand much taller than normal, with very little knee flex, and aim slightly right of your target (to account for the lie and the clubface's tendency to close through impact). If the upright posture bothers you, grip down an inch or two and stand closer to the ball.

SWING: GO FLATTER

The slope makes your swing plane flatter, so don't fight it. To stay balanced, keep your chest over the ball throughout the swing.
GRAHAM GACHES

In your downswing, swing to the left of the target—this brings the club's sole into impact as though you were hitting from a flat lie.
GRAHAM GACHES

The nature of the slope will promote a flatter swing plane (much like a baseball swing or a forehand in tennis), so when you take the club back, swing it less vertically and more around your body. As you swing forward, maintain your balance by keeping your chest over the ball, and swing to the left of your target (not at the target). You should make the same crisp contact you would from a flat lie, which will help you maintain distance control.

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