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buttputt40

Should You Club Up on a Hill?

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1st off I'll assume you mean an uphill approach shot not a downhill shot. Pros of clubbing up are you will reach the green. Can't think of any cons. 

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Sometimes yes but not always.  I club up most often when playing from an uphill lie.  In that instance the shot usually goes higher and lands shorter than it would otherwise.  The opposite is true when playing from a downhill lie.  As for hitting to an elevated green...I only club up with the longer clubs.  I think the higher the trajectory of the shot the less changes in elevation affect the distance.

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Assuming you mean on an uphill lie, the reason that people recommend clubbing up is because the club will follow the slope of the ground, so when hitting from an uphill lie, naturally more loft will be presented at impact, which will mean that the ball will fly higher and shorter compared to the same club and the same swing but on a flat lie.

As to whether or not you should club up on a hill, that is entirely based on the situation you are faced with. How far do you have left to the flag? How severe is the slope? Are you in the rough or fairway? Is the ball wet? How warm is it outside? Is it a front pin, back pin, middle pin? Where is the trouble around the green? Trouble short? Trouble long? etc etc. So many different variables it is impossible for random people on the internet to tell you if you should club up or not.

Example. Lets say you are middle of the fairway but on a noticeable, but not super severe upslope. You have 140yds left to a back pin on a generous sized green. Lets say 140 yds is a stock PW for you. In that case, no, I wouldn't club up, because if the hill affects the flight and you come up short, then you'll be in the middle of the green. If you clubbed up then there's a pretty high chance that you could miss long.

Lets change that scenario to a front pin now that is 140 yds to the pin, with a bunker front left and front right of the green, maybe 160 yds to the back of the green. In that case then yeah I'd probably hit a 9 iron instead of PW because that would likely put me in the middle of the green, I wouldnt have to worry about the 9 iron going long, and if I did happen to mishit it at all, I'd be towards the front of the green, closer to the flag.

So many variables that affect whether or not you should club up, and it's not really a topic that is suited for a "pros and cons" list, because what might be a "pro" for one hole (clubbing up so you hit it further) might be a "con" on the next hole if the situation isn't 100% exactly the same (which it hardly ever will be)

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Uphill lies will increase your loft at impact, so they can turn an 8 iron into a 9 iron or PW. Though it is a bit trickier since it's a longer club and will have more club head speed.

When on uphill lie, play the back a bit in your stance. There is a tendency to fall away from the target due to the lie. This will also negate some of the uphill effect on the ball flight.

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To me there are two situations here.  There are uphill shots where the ball needs to go further to account for elevation.  Obviously clubbing up is needed to cover the extra distance.  Then there are level shots with uphill lies. As an example I recently I had 9i distance to a back flag.  The shot to the flag was level with my ball but my ball was on the back of a mound such that my back foot was much lower than my front.  I've learned the hard way that the stance is going to make the ball sky so I hit 8i to the front of the green - I usually club up one and regret not clubbing up two.

A course I played in NJ had lots of these situations around the green.  If you had 30 feet to the pin from off the green and normally I would chip my 54 degree to 15 feet and account for 15 feet of roll, I learned that the stance made my 54 more like a 64 degree and so I would chip to about 6-7 feet for an easy up and down.

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You club up for the distance required. It matters little if it's an uphill lie on a hill side, or hitting uphill on a fairway. In either situation the ball will fly shorter, per club. The reasons have been well documented in the above posts. 

The biggest thing to remember is when standing on uneven ground, your shoulders should match the slope you are standing on. 

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3 hours ago, klineka said:

Assuming you mean on an uphill lie, the reason that people recommend clubbing up is because the club will follow the slope of the ground, so when hitting from an uphill lie, naturally more loft will be presented at impact, which will mean that the ball will fly higher and shorter compared to the same club and the same swing but on a flat lie.

As to whether or not you should club up on a hill, that is entirely based on the situation you are faced with. How far do you have left to the flag? How severe is the slope? Are you in the rough or fairway? Is the ball wet? How warm is it outside? Is it a front pin, back pin, middle pin? Where is the trouble around the green? Trouble short? Trouble long? etc etc. So many different variables it is impossible for random people on the internet to tell you if you should club up or not.

Example. Lets say you are middle of the fairway but on a noticeable, but not super severe upslope. You have 140yds left to a back pin on a generous sized green. Lets say 140 yds is a stock PW for you. In that case, no, I wouldn't club up, because if the hill affects the flight and you come up short, then you'll be in the middle of the green. If you clubbed up then there's a pretty high chance that you could miss long.

Lets change that scenario to a front pin now that is 140 yds to the pin, with a bunker front left and front right of the green, maybe 160 yds to the back of the green. In that case then yeah I'd probably hit a 9 iron instead of PW because that would likely put me in the middle of the green, I wouldnt have to worry about the 9 iron going long, and if I did happen to mishit it at all, I'd be towards the front of the green, closer to the flag.

So many variables that affect whether or not you should club up, and it's not really a topic that is suited for a "pros and cons" list, because what might be a "pro" for one hole (clubbing up so you hit it further) might be a "con" on the next hole if the situation isn't 100% exactly the same (which it hardly ever will be)

I wonder what the effect on distance really is.  I doubt it’s as simple as turning a 7 iron into an 8 iron on a 4* uphill slope.  The main reason the lower lifted clubs go farther is not because they launch lower, but because they deliver a less glancing blow and therefor give you more ball speed.  If you are swinging level with the uphill slope you would still retain the extra ball speed from the lower loft.  But it will go higher — which in some cases seems like it might even make the ball go farther.

I wonder if the real reason to club up on an uphill lie is that the lie makes it hard to swing as fast as you normally do.  I’m sure it’s all documented somewhere on the interwebs.  Interesting topic.

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4 minutes ago, allenc said:

If you are swinging level with the uphill slope you would still retain the extra ball speed from the lower loft.  

But you wouldnt have the lower loft. Due to the uphill slope the loft presented at impact is going to be higher.

I might be totally wrong, but this is how I understand how an uphill slope affects loft.

Lets go hypothetical here.

To hit the ball 150 yds off of a flat surface, I need to hit my club that has 39 degrees of loft (my current 9 iron)

My 8 iron has 35 degrees of loft.

If I am on a 5 degree hill, that would make the 9 iron have 44 degree of loft, which is only a 140yd distance with my clubs. 

The 8 iron would have an effective loft of 40 degrees, which would mean that the 8 iron would go ~150 yds all else equal, since the presented loft at impact on the hill with the 8 iron is the same as the flat lie 9 iron.

The ball doesn't know what loft the club has on a flat surface, the ball only knows what loft was presented to it at impact. In that scenario, hitting the 8 iron would mean the ball would be hit with 40 degrees of loft at impact, regardless of what number was stamped on the bottom of the club.

(Yes I know that the loft that we deliver is different than the loft of the club even off of flat surfaces, and yes there are probably some weight/shaft length differences between the two clubs that can and do affect the distance, but for explanation purposes I was keeping it the same.)

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54 minutes ago, klineka said:

But you wouldnt have the lower loft. Due to the uphill slope the loft presented at impact is going to be higher.

 

I think your overall point is correct but that this statement is wrong. I believe that the loft presented at impact is unchanged - the 8i still presents 35 degrees of loft at impact - I don't think that changes.  But since the hill is up 5 degrees you are effectively pointing up 5 degrees, meaning the shot behaves as if it has 40 degrees.  Subtle difference in how it works and makes no difference if you assumes a constant a constant slope to the target.

Of course, I never took much physics.

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2 minutes ago, gbogey said:

I think your overall point is correct but that this statement is wrong. I believe that the loft presented at impact is unchanged - the 8i still presents 35 degrees of loft at impact - I don't think that changes.  But since the hill is up 5 degrees you are effectively pointing up 5 degrees, meaning the shot behaves as if it has 40 degrees.  Subtle difference in how it works and makes no difference if you assumes a constant a constant slope to the target.

Of course, I never took much physics.

Yeah that does make sense and is probably more accurate that how I initially described it

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1 hour ago, klineka said:

But you wouldnt have the lower loft. Due to the uphill slope the loft presented at impact is going to be higher.

I might be totally wrong, but this is how I understand how an uphill slope affects loft.

Lets go hypothetical here.

To hit the ball 150 yds off of a flat surface, I need to hit my club that has 39 degrees of loft (my current 9 iron)

My 8 iron has 35 degrees of loft.

If I am on a 5 degree hill, that would make the 9 iron have 44 degree of loft, which is only a 140yd distance with my clubs. 

The 8 iron would have an effective loft of 40 degrees, which would mean that the 8 iron would go ~150 yds all else equal, since the presented loft at impact on the hill with the 8 iron is the same as the flat lie 9 iron.

The ball doesn't know what loft the club has on a flat surface, the ball only knows what loft was presented to it at impact. In that scenario, hitting the 8 iron would mean the ball would be hit with 40 degrees of loft at impact, regardless of what number was stamped on the bottom of the club.

(Yes I know that the loft that we deliver is different than the loft of the club even off of flat surfaces, and yes there are probably some weight/shaft length differences between the two clubs that can and do affect the distance, but for explanation purposes I was keeping it the same.)

I as well may be wrong, but this is how I see it.  When you are hitting your 8 iron up a 5 degree slope, the loft of your club relative to the horizon (or gravity) indeed does increase 5 degrees.  But it’s loft relative to the direction the club is traveling is still at 8 iron loft — because it is traveling upward 5 degrees.  That means it should launch at the angle of a 9 iron but have the spin and ball speed of an 8 iron.

You know how if you swing the driver with an upward angle of attack you get a higher launch and lower spin?  It isn’t the same as just using a 15 degree driver.  I believe that is the same effect here.

Edited by allenc

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5 minutes ago, allenc said:

I as well may be wrong, but this is how I see it.  When you are hitting your 8 iron up a 5 degree slope, the loft of your club relative to the horizon (or gravity) indeed does increase 5 degrees.  But it’s loft relative to the direction the club is traveling is still at 8 iron loft — because it is traveling upward 5 degrees.  That means it should launch at the angle of a 9 iron but have the spin and ball speed of an 8 iron.

That does make sense. We both might be right. Here is a quote I found from a website talking about uphill shots

" shots from uphill lies tend to launch and fly higher, and tend not to run out as much when they hit the ground. While not always the case, many players find that their less lofted clubs will actually go further, while more lofted clubs will fly higher and travel shorter distances"

Which does make sense to me. Hitting a long iron with a higher launch and higher height could help it go further, but with higher lofted clubs, hitting them too high would result in less distance, think about it like the curve of water coming out of a garden hose. If the angle is too low (normal long iron from flat lie) then you aren't getting max distance. If you increase the angle that the water comes out, (long iron off an upslope) then the water launches higher and goes a bit further, but if you go too high with the angle of the water (short iron off an upslope) then the overall distance is reduced. (Obviously that assumes the same output speed is coming out of the hose) 

In regards to the differences in ball speed part of this, based on the overwhelming number of tip/advice articles that state to take an extra club or more from uphill lies, I'd have to think that the increase in launch angle has to outweigh the potential increases in ball speed that come as a result of clubbing up. 

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19 minutes ago, buttputt40 said:

I judge based on the flag position  is this good? 

Did you read all of the posts on this topic so far? 

Like I mentioned earlier, pin position is just one of the factors that needs to be considered in club selection and whether you should club up or not. Things like weather, wind, steepness of the slope, the lie, fairway, rough, how far you are to the green, etc etc are all things that need to be considered in additional to the flag position.

So to answer your question, no, just judging your club selection based on the flag position is not good.

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