The first thing left handed golfers should be aware of when playing a shot with the ball above the feet is how the ball flight will be affected.
When the ball is above the level of your feet, the ball will tend to fly further to the right than normal. This is because as the club face is brought up to the same level as the ball, the face plane tilt (where the club face is pointing at address and impact) will point to the right. This is important to understand because players should not try to resist this face plane tilt. Rather than resist, you should be looking to incorporate it into the set up. This means that when the ball is above the feet at set up, players should be looking to aim more to the left of their intended target. The further the ball rests above the feet, the more they should aim left.
Left handed golfers should look to adapt their body position and posture to the slope. This is not easy to accomplish because many golfers will feel they are standing up at address. The easiest way to think about posture when playing a shot with the ball above the feet is to consider spine angle. When you take your normal address position over the ball, your spine should be tilted over the ball. How much you tilt over is determined by factors such as height. Tiger Woods’s spine angle at address during a normal shot is normally about 50 degrees in relation to the ground. If the ball was 10 degrees above his feet, he would alter his spine angle (straighten it) so the 50 degree angle is maintained. Players should match their spine angle to the slope.
Because of the alteration of the spine angle, the swing plane will also be affected. If the ball is a long way above the feet, the spine angle will become more upright. This will cause the swing to be more ‘rounded’ like a baseball bat swing. This is almost unavoidable and will cause the club to travel into the ball on an inside-to-out swing path. Left handed golfers should be careful to ensure the club face is released correctly through impact.
Depending on the severity of the slope, the amount of knee flex a player deploys should also be considered. If the ball sits a long way above the feet, the knee flex could be almost none existent. To help stop losing all flex in the knees, players can grip down the club slightly but should be aware that shortening the club's length will decrease the amount of possible distance achievable.
As a guide, left handed golfers can use the following points to ensure they set up and swing correctly when the ball sits above the feet at address.
- Aim more to the left, depending on the severity of the slope
- Adapt the spine angle and posture to suit the slope
- Check knee flex and don’t let body weight drift on to the heels
- Grip further down the grip
- Feel the swing is more rounded
- Release the club through impact.