Long and Short of Uneven Lies

November 17, 2008

Golf Digest reader John Lawson of Corunna, MI, takes issue with a Todd Anderson tip in the December issue.



In the article "How to beat uneven lies" (page 125), the section on "ball above feet" states: "in effect, the slope makes the club longer...." My experience tells me that the club is actually made effectively shorter. If it is "effectively longer" then why have your readers stand taller and grip down an inch or two? Certanly the distance from your sternum to the ball is a shorter distance than when playing on level ground.>

Ball below feet......has this distance stated exactly the opposite. "The ground sloping away from your feet effectively shortens your club" experience is the reverse of this.> got some 'esplainin to do! Could you clarify this for me?


Oh, Ricky, er, John, I think this is a simple misunderstanding: You're thinking about the distance between your hands or sternum and the ground on the these shots; we're talking about what the stance does to effective length of the club, that is, how the club covers that distance.

When the ball is above your feet, you are closer to it than on a level lie; hence the club feels and operates "longer." That's why the tendency on this shot is to hit behind the ball--exactly what would happen with a club that's too long for you. Thus, you have to choke up and stand tall to compensate. When the ball is below your feet, the opposite is true. Your sternum is farther from the ball than usual, making the club, in effect, too short for the shot. The tendency on this shot is too hit the ball thin (as you might if you had a club that was too short for you). You have to bend your knees to reach the ball.

For more on uneven lies, see the Breaking 100, 90, 80 by Don Hurter (pictured).

--Bob Carney