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Correct Golf Answer Calculate the playing yardage

Elevation on the golf course can be a tricky thing to adjust for and if you do not experience it very often and then find yourself on a hilly golf course, adjusting for those uphill and downhill shots can cause mistakes that lose you the game.

Judging these shots by eye is very difficult as the illusion is that a downhill shot looks further away while an uphill shot can give the impression of being closer than it actually is.

To deal with a change in elevation we have to be able to estimate and use the playing yardage of the shot rather than use the actual measured yardage as the two will be different. For example, if a golfer hit a seven iron on flat ground it may travel 150 yards. If the same shot was hit to an uphill green, the golf ball lands sooner than normal and therefore, doesnt travel as far. Likewise, hitting to a downhill green, the ball stays in the air longer and so travels further. The question is how much further or shorter does the ball travel depending on the elevation difference?

As a general rule of thumb, for every one yard of elevation change up or down equals one yard of distance further or shorter. For example, if our 150 yard shot was up a hill to a green that was 10 yards higher from ball to hole, then those 10 yards must be added to the distance needed to be hit. The shot would equal a playing yardage of 160 yards. This works in exactly the same way for a downhill shot.

The key point here is to take your time, do a few calculations, and trust your yardage not your eyes. If you do this you will beat the challenge of those hilly courses.

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Often when hitting to a green that is higher than the ball, it is tempting to lean back on impact and try and scoop the ball up into the air. Unfortunately, when leaning back in such a way, the tendency is to either hit the ball on the way up in the swing causing a thin shot that travels very low and into the hill or by hitting a fat shot, catching the ground before the ball, in which case the ball does not travel very far.

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Doing this will ruin the rhythm and tempo of the swing with the likelihood being that you will mis-hit the golf shot. In addition, it is very difficult to estimate how far the golf ball will travel when hitting it harder or softer and so the consistency of your yardages will suffer.

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You will either go long or come up short. Remember bury your head in the sand and hold your head in your hands!