Last week we give you the formula for consistent hits by slowing down your backswing to control your transition and accelerating at 80% in your downswing. So why are your hits still going left or right of your target? The proper grip is important but are you paying attention to the slope of the ground from your feet to your ball?
You should be excited about your wonderful consistent hits on FLAT practice tees before you play a round of golf. Unfortunately, not only are golf course tees often sloped or crowned but you rarely stand on flat ground on the fairways or in the rough.
Golf Course ratings are measure by the SLOPE of the course. A high degree of the slope rating comes from the uneven terrain where you are addressing your ball. A 5 degree slope from your feet to your ball can throw your golf ball off course by 10 to 20 degrees. When your ball is 2 inches above or below the level of your feet, on a 100 yard hit your ball will end up at least 5 yards left or right from your target. A ball above your feet will tend to hook and that can double or triple your miss by 15 yards to the left (for right handed golfers). A ball below your feet will tend to slice and that can double or triple your miss to the right
1/ Always look for the flattest surface on the tee within 2 club lengths behind the line between the tee blocks.
2/ Raised Tees tend to slope down to the sides causing a crown along the center. If you don’t believe me, stand near the back of the tee when your partners tee off. Decide if the ground is sloping left or right when they tee-up. If a person has a proper swing, they will invariably hit left of their toe line if the ground is sloping left and they will hit to the right if their toe line if pointing right.
3/ The fairway, rough and sand traps will give you another challenge. Not only is the surface from your feet to the ball often sloped left or right but you may also be faced with an uphill or downhill shot on your forward target line. Expect to lose distance. Choose a longer club for uphill shots and more loft for a downhill shot. Setup with your shoulder line parallel to the ground and use a wider stance for balance. Gravity will keep you off balance so just do your best to step out of your stance as you follow-through to avoid falling.
4/ If your ball is slightly above the level of your feet you can choke up on your grip to compensate for the 1 or 2 inch difference in height. Remember to club up for the lost distance when you choke up on the club.
5/ If your ball is significantly higher than your feet, you need to judge whether the toe of your club will impact the hill and twist your club in your hand. The blade (leading edge) should be parallel to the ground when you impact the ball. If you are changing to a flatter swing plane to hit a ball above your feet, then you (right handers) need to aim to the right of your target as your ball will be pulled to the left.
6/ If your ball is significantly below the level of your feet, you can only bend your knees or waist to compensate for the extra depth. Plan to swing at a slower speed and lose distance as you try to maintain your balance during the swing. Expect the ball to slice away from your body. BEWARE that an early impact with your hosel on the ground can pull a right hander’s club face and ball to the left. Ideally, you need to aim for a flat landing site to avoid further damage.
Who said golf was easy? Ian Poulter’s second shot out of the rough on the 18th hole at the Players Championship reminded me that a bad lie is also a recipe for disaster. When in doubt, head for some level ground and enjoy your next shot. Practice with GOLFSTR+ to learn to control all of your shots. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com