When a golf course is designed, it is created in a way that best challenges the golfers using the terrain available to them in addition to man-made obstacles. One of these challenges is uphill lies and elevated greens. There's not that much difference between how to approach the shot in principle, so for the purpose of this article, we're going to assume the hole is at the top of the obstacle and is, therefore, called an elevated green. And who is not more excited to talk about a green shot than just your average shot. Just don't expect us to be talking about your standard roll on the green. Elevated greens ask for a little more sophistication to get it right.
Portions of the course are designed to go uphill as you play, pushing the golfer to hit the ball in a way so that it can land on the higher elevation without rolling back down the hill or overshooting the target. To perfect this kind of distance shot requires a lot of practice and more than a little know-how.
To help you with hitting your golf ball to the elevated green, we've accumulated these tips and tricks for you to try, allowing you to surpass this "uphill" battle and hit the elevated green without any issues.
Tips for Getting Your Golf Ball onto that Elevated Green
Stance and Body Position
The first area to master to perfect hitting a ball to an elevated green is your body language.
For your feet, maintain the same stance that you would during your normal golf swing. Footwork is nothing fancy when it comes to this shot, so your normal stance is your best option to reach the elevated green.
As for your upper body, position yourself tilted slightly downwards. This will help you to get under the ball better when taking your golf shot.
Know Your Clubs
Since most of the greens are elevated, it is good to use the right club when hitting a golf ball uphill to allows you to hit at a higher trajectory. Depending on the elevation, 8 and 9 irons, as well as sand, pitching, and approach wedges all have a loft high enough to help you get under the ball and launch it uphill.
If you are unsure which club to choose, it is good to keep this in mind: The closer the back of the club head is to the ground, the higher the angle of trajectory will be. The trajectory would determine how many roll-on landing.
Take Nature Into Consideration
Much like any other shot, the weather will make a difference in your shot, in particular, the rain. Heavy rain coming down will push your ball towards the ground, as well as weigh it down, causing your ball to not fly as high as you may like.
In a different light, rain can be an advantage to beginner golfers even for pros. The wet condition hinders the amount of roll when you hit the ball in the fairway. It can actually help with traction when shooting uphill. Should your ball land on the slope, the rain will give your ball more traction and slow it down, keeping it from sliding down the hill. Rain can be an advantage to beginner golfers even for pros.
The biggest issue that you will encounter when shooting to an elevated green is the hill itself. You are trying to hit a target on top of the hill, so you obviously want to power your shot enough to make it up the hill. With this in mind, you also don't want to overpower your shot, especially if there is a slope on the opposite side of your target and the ball is going to roll differently.
Over or underpowering your shot will likely lead to the ball rolling down the hill, causing you to drastically miss the mark and adding strokes to your game. While the play may be trial and error, you will need to judge how much power to use for your shot depending situation and elevation of the hill.
The Actual Swing
Now to the meat of your uphill shot: the motion itself.
When you take your swing, the only thing you would actually want to do differently on the elevated green is to direct your shot in a downward motion. Doing this would help you hit the ball from underneath and send it up the hill.
While you will want to hit underneath the ball, try not to "scoop" it when following through your shot. Scooping is when, instead of hitting the ball, you basically pick it up and throw it using your club. This type of shot will not only be weaker than your normal shot but it at the same time will be wildly inaccurate.
Try to keep a high-arc trajectory when taking your shot on the elevated green, as this will likely give you the air you need to get to your target. Don't mistake this for the type of high-flying shot that you may get off of a driver, as this will cause your ball to fly too high and far and miss the mark.
Finally, don't mistake a downward swing for essentially "hacking" at the ball. This will accomplish nothing except digging up dirt from the ground. The key is to try not to attack the ball too aggressively and instead just let your swing flow naturally, trying not to hit the ground, but rather the golf ball.
If you know how to do it effectively, try to apply spin to your ball. This can both help you gain extra distance from a topspin, or help you hold your ground with a backspin. If you are not sure you can use this technique effectively on elevated green, however, it is best to abandon it and not try at all.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you want to level up your shots on elevated greens, you need to devote some of your time to practice. You can do this if you have a small hill at your home. When you can, practice your uphill and elevated shots on elevation and carry. If you don't have one, making a hill with simulated turf and a few different sized boxes is also an option to practice right.
There are many different aspects to the game of golf that one has to master in order to become a better golfer, and shooting distance to an elevated green is just one of them. Even so, once you use the tip above and practice your elevated golf shot endlessly, you will be one step closer to moving higher and becoming the top guy on your golf course's leader boards and moving from good to great.