Club Selection & Evaluation

If you are a beginning golfer chances are you are not aware of the effect of elevation changes, especially on shots hit into greens. When the green is above or below you it’s important to understand how the elevation affects the carry distance of the golf ball and how to adjust accordingly.

Let’s use the photo for example and assume the green is 15 ft. above the ball sitting in the fairway and level lie.

If we hit our normal shot pattern the ball will of course take off on its usual arc, but as it descends it will have less time in the air because the ground is 15 ft. above the spot where it would normally land on flat ground. Could we guess that the ball will carry 15 ft. less than normal and therefore with the same club come up short of the flag? Yes and no, no because much depends on how crisply the shot was hit, but yes we can assume on a “normal” shot that the ball will be short of the hole.

The opposite would hold true if the green was 15 ft. below the ball. The ball will be in the air longer and therefore carry a bit further than normal. Knowing exactly how much the elevation affects carry distance is a matter of practicing from these lies to get a feel for how they effect ball flight.

The general rule is: uphill use more club, downhill less. Some of the new laser range finders also measure slope and can help estimate the yardage with changing elevation. The next time you play a few holes alone, practice shots from different elevations with different clubs and make some notes on the change in carry distances. Once you’ve learned to manage ball flight accuracy left and right, controlling distance will be the next step in cutting strokes off the score card.

AGI: play better golf.