Usually the area around a green is level with or lower than the putting surface. But sometimes you’ll find your ball on a mound near the green. Sure, it was a lucky break that the hill kept your ball within chipping distance. But now what? This tricky lie presents a challenge for a lot of golfers, because it drastically reduces the chance of popping the ball up and landing it softly on the green – especially if you have a tendency to try to help the ball in the air with a scooping, wristy action. You need to make some adjustments to pull off this shot.
First, you can’t afford to make contact with the ground behind the ball, or you’ll blade it across the green. So play the ball slightly back of centre in your stance. Another thing that will help you make ball-first contact is to lean the handle a little towards the green, so your hands are closer to the flag than the clubhead. I also recommend gripping down on the club – your most lofted wedge – for more control.
Next, the way you swing is important, too. Maintain flex in your knees throughout the swing [above]. Remember to keep the shaft leaning forward through impact and abbreviate the follow-through. A time-honoured swing thought for this shot is to swing down the slope with the clubhead.
All of this might seem like a lot to remember, so boil it down like this: ball back, hands ahead, and swing down the slope. Do that, and you’ll get just enough loft on the ball to stop it near the hole.
David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and he spoke with Ron Kaspriske