Focus on Contact First

Most amateur players struggle with contact on an uphill lie, often hitting “chunks” or “skulls”. With poor contact comes poor distance control. Therefore, step one is to ensure good contact when faced with an uphill lie around the green.

Because the uphill slope will naturally tend to launch the ball higher into the air than normal, I generally recommend students use a LESS lofted club than usual for their particular shot. For instance, if the specific shot faced would require a 54 degree sand wedge on a normal lie, I’d recommend the player move down to their gap wedge for the uphill lie. From there, I like to see the player move the ball slightly up in their stance and play a HIGHER than normal trajectory shot with the less lofted club.

These recommendations do the following:
1) The less lofted club helps reduce the influence of the upslope on trajectory while still providing the ball with enough energy to reach the hole.
2) Playing a higher than normal shot with the ball a bit more forward promotes a shallower strike with more bounce utilized on the sole of the club. Both of these help ensure quality contact with the ground and ball, helping to avoid a chunk or skulled shot.
3) The less lofted club generally requires a slightly smaller swing- a benefit for most amateurs on a tricky lie, whilst still providing some ball control via trajectory and spin.

The key with these shots is to learn to adapt to the slope and experiment with different clubs and shot trajectories to build skill and confidence. With a little practice, most uphill slopes can become easy to navigate. Good luck!