SI Vault
 
On a hill, stand firm and swing gently
Jack Nicklaus
June 10, 1963
There are two essential things to remember when hitting from a sidehill lie where the ball is higher than the feet. The first, which is obvious but surprisingly easy to forget, is that you must concentrate unusually hard on keeping your balance. The second is that the ball is probably going to hook quite a bit. To insure good balance, the player should get his weight well distributed on the heels of both feet. He should also maintain a very upright stance, with the knees flexed only slightly. Then, to counterbalance the fact that the ball will be nearer to him than usual, he should choke down on the grip of his club. Finally, the backswing should be made slowly and kept quite short; both of these things help maintain balance. At the bottom of the downswing the clubhead should not hit the ground. Instead, it should sweep the ball off the turf. If hit properly, the ball is now going to hook, so aim to the right of the hole. The shortened backswing and the choked-up grip will cut down on distance. To compensate for this it is a sound idea to use one more club (a four-iron, for instance, instead of a five) than would be used under normal circumstances.
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June 10, 1963

On A Hill, Stand Firm And Swing Gently

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There are two essential things to remember when hitting from a sidehill lie where the ball is higher than the feet. The first, which is obvious but surprisingly easy to forget, is that you must concentrate unusually hard on keeping your balance. The second is that the ball is probably going to hook quite a bit. To insure good balance, the player should get his weight well distributed on the heels of both feet. He should also maintain a very upright stance, with the knees flexed only slightly. Then, to counterbalance the fact that the ball will be nearer to him than usual, he should choke down on the grip of his club. Finally, the backswing should be made slowly and kept quite short; both of these things help maintain balance. At the bottom of the downswing the clubhead should not hit the ground. Instead, it should sweep the ball off the turf. If hit properly, the ball is now going to hook, so aim to the right of the hole. The shortened backswing and the choked-up grip will cut down on distance. To compensate for this it is a sound idea to use one more club (a four-iron, for instance, instead of a five) than would be used under normal circumstances.

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