Around most greens there are a number of undulations, humps, bumps and hollows which need to be navigated successfully. This means left handed golfers must learn how to play chips from side hill lies.
Side hill lies around the green throw up a number of different dilemmas including alterations which need to be made at set up and with the swing. If these alterations can be made successfully then side hills lies can become less of a threat when missing the green with an approach shot.
Standard Chip Shot and Side Hill Alterations
- Holding the club chosen for a chip shot further down the grip will normally add more control. For lies which are above the feet, the ball becomes closer and therefore the club should be gripped closer to the shaft. When the ball is below the feet, the club should be held further up the grip, near the butt end, to compensate.
- The club face should be square to the ball-to-target line and the shoulders parallel to this line. If the ball is above the feet, the face plane tilt (where the club face points at impact) will point right of the target. This means players should aim more to the left. If the ball is below the feet, the face plane tilt will point left of the target so players should aim more to the right of their intended target.
- On a normal chip shot, the club will travel on a slightly inside-to-square-to-inside swing path. If the ball is above the feet the swing path will be more in to out, if the ball is below the feet it will be more out to in.
- The feet and hips should be slightly open to the target line to pre-set the hips into an impact position.
- Usually the ball will be positioned back of center in the stance and left handed golfers should place 60% of body weight on to the right foot. Care should be taken on uphill and downhill lies to ensure players don’t fall down or up slopes.
- The hands during a chip shot should also be opposite the right thigh irrespective of the sloping lie to produce more backspin and control.
Left handed golfers also need to be aware that uphill slopes will add loft to the club being used. This could cause certain chip shots to balloon. Downhill lies will cause the opposite and chip shots will come out slightly lower with less backspin. Both these factors need to be taken into consideration BEFORE a shot is played, players shouldn’t try to adapt their swing once settled over a shot.
Although side hill lies are difficult and can cause inexperienced golfers problems, by adapting things at set up and during the swing they can become much easier.