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

SLICE WIND PLAY IT FOR­WARD

▶ 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.

DOWNWIND TEE IT HIGH AND LOAD UP

▶ 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.

HEAD WIND STAY SHORT AND CEN­TERED

▶ 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.

HOOK WIND LET IT RIDE

▶ 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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