Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #45

Click play to listen to Greg’s Podcast, or read below.

Before we tackle uneven lies and pin positions in our weekly lesson, congratulations goes out to Patrick Cantlay, the winner of the Fedex Cup. For his accomplishment Cantlay picked up $15 million. The next big event in professional golf is the Ryder Cup which will be contested September 24th through 26th.

No matter what course you play, you are going to encounter uneven lies. It’s just a matter of how severe the uneven lie is. The basic rule is don’t fight the terrain.

Let’s start with the ball above your feet. This is probably the easiest of the uneven lies for the average golfer who tends to cut across the ball from outside in. The ball above your feet will promote a hook or pull to the left so aim a little right and choke down an inch on the club then take your normal swing. If the lie is severe choke down several inches and don’t attempt the shot with a long iron.

On an uphill lie, the ball will fly higher because loft is being added to your club, so take an extra club and swing normal. The dreaded ball below your feet lie can be a little tricky. Don’t attempt this with a three wood or low lofted club. Take one less club and aim left because the ball will tend to slice.

The same principal applies to a downhill lie. The ball will fly lower. If you catch it right it will come out like a bullet, so take one less club and allow for roll on the green or up to the green. There really is no need to invent a different swing for these shots just play the odds and go with what the terrain gives you. Also try keeping your legs a little more still to avoid swinging off the ball and mis-hitting the shot.

The other facet of the game I wanted to talk about was pin position. Some courses will help you with your depth perception by placing different colored flags on the green to denote whether the flag is front, center or back on the green. The universal colors are red for front third, white for the central third and blue for the back third. Besides the club you should choose depending on the pin position it may be necessary to flight your ball differently. Obviously if you are playing to a deep green and the flag is in the back you’ll want to take an extra club, maybe even two and if the flag is in the front you’ll want to go with one less club, but check your scorecard for the ground rules.

Most courses measure yardages to the center of the green but occasionally a course measurement may be to the front edge. Also it’ll be easier to stop the ball with a shorter club with higher loft for a red flag situation. When you encounter a blue flag situation it becomes a fun shot where you can drill a longer lower flighted shot which lands on the front of the green and skips to the back. Remember you aren’t carrying the ball as far so take a three-quarter swing. If you have the ability to work your iron shots. In other words fade or draw them when you want to, the percentages are with you to try fading a shot into a right-hand pin location. Start the ball at the center of the green and cut it slightly into the right side of the green. if the ball doesn’t cut you are still in the center. Likewise with a left-hand pin location, aim at the center of the green and draw the ball right to left to the left side of the green. Keep in mind a hook will not stop as fast as a fade.

Those are the basics for playing uneven lies and the different pin positions. Next week we’ll talk about sand traps.

Hit ’em straight!