Saturday, 12 November 2011

Pitch Shots: Downhill & Uphill Lies

By Darren

The tricky part about hitting a pitch shot from a downhill lie is hitting the ball with the clubhead before it strikes the ground behind the ball. Make no mistake, this is indeed a tough shot!


When you come upon a downhill lie, put most of your weight on your front side at address and keep it there throughout the swing. Because the hillside tilts you to your front, you naturally de-loft the angle of the clubface. The ball will come off the club flying lower and perhaps longer, so you may want to take a more lofted club or shorten your backswing accordingly.


For uphill lies, you want to let the clubhead follow the ground contour, just as you do with a downhill lie. Because the ball lies on an uphill slope, the angle effectively increases the loft of the club, causing the ball to fly higher and shorter after impact. Choose a longer club than you would normally use and also lengthen your backswing to account for the lost yardage.


The angle of the hill, depending upon its steepness, also affects your balance by forcing your weight onto your backside and perhaps causing you to pull up or even fall back out of the shot. Guard against this by keeping your weight on your front foot and keeping the ball in the middle of your stance
1 comment
on Jul 11 '12
I just visited the wesbite and saw the latest entry. I enjoyed your posts. I have been fighting the dreaded early extension for years. I've done all the exercises recommended by TPI, Chek Institute etc. etc. I'm certainly no model of fitness but I could perform all the recommended tests to a reasonable degree of proficiency and I was still losing spine angle.So I started thinking about why Well something must be making my body uncomfortable in the bent over position. It really wants to straighten when I put any effort into a swing, but I can stand in front of a mirror in my living room all night and swing in slow-motion with perfect angles. I've done the drill with the butt up against a wall a million times.So what was I doing differently when I was swinging at a ball. Well my legs are strong and very active probably from all the other sports I've played. And my back is usually pretty tight and my torso doesn't move all that well until it is warmed up.So maybe the problem stems from the differential between my hip rotation and my torso rotation. After thinking about it for a while and looking at lots of pros swings here is my take on what needs to happen.Hips move somewhere around 45 degrees to target line.Torso moves another 20 degrees in addition.Shoulders move another 25 degrees in addition.These are rough estimates that will be different for everyone but the point is that on the downswing each of these components needs to catch the one before it and pass it i.e. torso must catch hips and shoulders must catch torso.Now if the hips just fire and everything else stays static there's going to be an immense amount of pressure on the joint between the hips and the torso. You guessed it the lower back. Ahah maybe that explains a few things. If you're in doubt, take one of those bending straws, bend it to around 60 degrees, rotate one section and hold the other section still. What happens to the joint will make you cringe.So maybe I have to help my torso get back to square with my core muscles. I didn't even know what this felt like. Try it. Stand up straight and try just moving your torso left and right without moving your hips at all. Then try moving your shoulders around your torso without moving your torso or hips at all. These are the sensations I was missing. The hips do still need to turn but the torso must turn faster and the shoulders still faster. Each element must accelerate past the first from the ground up.Now the immediate problem for me was that it is very easy to accelerate the hips as hard as I want because they are pushing against the ground a pretty solid object to push against. But the torso sometimes just doesn't want to get going. A good drill to get the torso moving is the move that Duval and Annika use. At the top of the back swing turn your neck and eyes to look at the target. Your torso will naturally follow. If you are like me you will miss the ball a bunch of times until you get it, but then you will find that your sequencing improves dramatically and hopefully you will be able to keep your angles with greater ease.Disclaimer: I am neither a professional teacher or player. The above is from my own personal exploration. It may not be completely correct but it works well for me.