How do I play a 50-yard uphill shot? First thing I do is aim at the top of the flag, not what I can see of the flagstick. That was a Gary Player tip I read in Golf Digest a long time ago. It helps ensure you hit the ball high enough to land it softly around the target. To make it happen, I open the face a bit and swing hard. I don’t want to ease into it. 

Because of the upslope, the ball will land sooner than normal, so most people come up short. They hit the ball flat-footed or with too much weight on the back foot, trying to help the ball up the hill. 

The main thing is to be on your left foot as you hit the ball. With the ball slightly farther forward in your stance, set up with your right knee kicked in as a brace and your weight more on your left side. It’s OK to shift your weight to your right side during the backswing, but make sure you’re back on your left side at impact. You want your left hip to open so you can accelerate your arms and hands through the ball. Think high finish. 

I use a 56-degree wedge and make a shorter-than-full swing. That takes some touch. The average golfer might be better off with a 60-degree wedge and a full swing. You need to swing hard to launch it high—but not so hard that you lose your balance. 


When I go to the British Open, I remember how I played golf as a kid, when I wasn’t big and strong enough to carry the ball onto the green. I had to think about how the ground affected the shot. You have to play that bump-and-run style on those links, like the Old Course at St. Andrews. 

How to Hit it high: An uphill shot requires a higher trajectory than normal, so add loft to the club by opening the face before you take your grip. Then make an aggressive swing.