Drop Down, Choke Down
In the late 1970s, the greatest player in the world came to the realization that he had to change his swing in order to better control his golf ball in the wind. That golfer, Jack Nicklaus, spent the better part of a year re-learning the golf swing in heavy Florida winds. A few years later, Nick Faldo re-tooled his leggy, high-ball hitting motion by inserting mechanisms that helped him lower his trajectory in order to produce a more penetrating ballflight. The move led him to six majors.
Now, you may not be gearing up for a run at this year’s British Open, but if you want to take your scores as low as they can go on a consistent basis, you have to be able to play your best no matter how hard the wind blows. And that means knowing how to keep the ball low when you need to.
Where The Pros Can’t Help You
When you’re playing a shot into the wind, the last thing you want is a rising ball with a lot of spin—you’ll lose distance and the ball won’t hold its line. Professional golfers suggest that to better control trajectory, modify your setup and your swing. They’ll tell you: “Play the ball in the center of your stance in order to reduce the effective loft on the club and keep your weight on your left side while you punch down on the ball with a three-quarter swing that features a hands-under-the-shoulder followthrough.” This tip offers the correct advice, but it’s applicable to a pro’s game. Not yours. For most golfers, the best adjustments are the least adjustments. Judging the effect of wind on your regular ballflight is tough; figuring out how it will influence a shot struck with a newly concocted swing is next to impossible.
The Simple Way To Keep It Low
Here’s how to keep the ball low without changing your swing or your ball position. Group your irons in pairs: 5-iron/7-iron, 6-iron/8-iron, 7-iron/9-iron, 8-iron/PW, and 9-iron/SW. Now you’re set to control trajectory like a pro. To produce the distance of a 9-iron with the height of a 7-iron, grip down on the handle of the 7 until your right index finger (for right-handers) touches the shaft itself. All you have to do is make exactly the same swing with the 7-iron as you would if you were hitting a full 9.