Drive It In Any Wind

Com­bat any wind con­di­tion with th­ese tee shots

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents - BY KEVIN KISNER

Four tee shots you need to find the fair­way. by kevin kisner

i’ve come to ac­cept I’m not one of the long­est guys on tour, so if I’m go­ing to beat guys who are 20 to 30 yards longer off the tee—like I did at the 2015 RSM Clas­sic and the 2017 Dean & DeLuca In­vi­ta­tional—I have to keep the ball in the fair­way. My stats prove that. Head­ing into the Open Cham­pi­onship in July, I was 35 un­der par on ap­proaches from the fair­way be­tween 50 and 175 yards. In the same range from the rough, I was 14 over. That’s a big dif­fer­ence. Be­ing a solid driver means hav­ing more than one way to find the fair­way. I’m go­ing to teach you four, one for each type of wind con­di­tion. Pair the cor­rect play with that wind, and you’ll be hit­ting your next shot from the short grass. — with e. michael John­son


▶ With most tee shots, I start by de­ter­min­ing where I need to drive it to leave the best an­gle into the green. Then I check to see how the wind might im­pact that plan and ad­just for it. I strug­gle the most with a slice wind (com­ing from the left for right-han­ders), but my ad­just­ments are to play the ball way up, off my left toe ( left), and aim far­ther left than nor­mal. The ball po­si­tion and align­ment help me start the ball on a path left of the fair­way and, hope­fully, let the breeze push it back into the fair­way in the ideal spot.


▶ Ev­ery­one loves a hole where the wind is at your back. To take ad­van­tage of that, I tee the ball higher than nor­mal—with half of it sit­ting above the driver when I sole it. I also po­si­tion the ball just off my left heel. The last thing I do at ad­dress is tilt my right shoul­der slightly down ( left) and to the right. All of this pro­motes a higher launch an­gle, which gets the ball up and rid­ing the wind. When I swing, I load up on my right side and then fire into the ball from the in­side, try­ing to draw it for even more of a dis­tance boost. If you do this, be care­ful not to get too much weight on your right side when you take the club back. It makes it harder to hit it solid.


▶ We’re lucky we play mostly on firm fair­ways on tour; at least the ball will roll when the hole is into the wind. I play for that, try­ing to hit it 20 feet off the ground and chase it out there. At ad­dress, I tee the ball only an inch off the grass, play it about two inches back of my left heel and grip down a lit­tle on the driver ( be­low, left). I also aim slightly left of the tar­get, be­cause the ten­dency is for the shot to squirt right as a re­sult of the ball po­si­tion—it’s harder to square the face. The swing keys: Keep your weight cen­tered be­tween your feet, and make a short-but-smooth swing back and through. The mis­take is to lean for­ward and hit down on it to keep the shot low. That cre­ates ex­tra spin, killing dis­tance.


▶ I love when it’s com­ing from the right, be­cause my nat­u­ral shot shape—a draw—curves with the breeze and goes for­ever. With this one my setup is stan­dard, but you might want to close your stance a lit­tle (aim your body right of the tar­get) to pro­mote an in-to-out draw swing path. The shot’s start line is im­por­tant. I aim down the right edge of the hole so the ball will ride the breeze into the fair­way. Note how I’ve re­leased the club through im­pact ( right). Don’t try to steer it into play. With this wind, just ham­mer it.

Pho­to­graphs by J.D. Cuban september 2018 golfdi­gestme. com

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