Tips from the Pro
In the great state of Utah, the wind seems to always be blowing in one direction or another. During the play of one hole, the wind might blow in three different directions. Judging the wind and how much the wind will affect the flight of the golf ball can be very difficult. If you hit the ball high in the air, the wind is a major factor in determining which club to select for the shot. For players with a medium or low flight, the wind is a factor, but not as critical. The knockdown shot is an important skill to learn if you play in the wind.
The knockdown shot will be less affected by the wind due to the lower flight of the golf ball. If you are playing with a breeze in your face or at your back, the ball will fly about the same distance. If you are playing into a cross breeze, the wind will not move the ball in the direction of the wind as much as if it were up in the air. The idea here is that the ball will generally fly the same no matter what direction the wind is blowing.
To execute the knockdown shot, read the following example and give it a try. The ball is in the middle of the fairway with a perfect lie about 150 yards from the middle of the green. As you are walking up to your ball, the wind comes out of nowhere. The wind is now blowing directly in your direction and will definitely affect how far the ball will fly. If your normal club from 150 yards is a seven iron, pull your six iron out of the bag. In your set up, play the ball a touch back in your stance. While keeping your hands in the middle of your stance and an inch further down on the grip, make a smooth swing with an abbreviated follow through. The key here is to swing smooth and let the club do most of the work. In this situation, too many amateurs want to swing hard and end up loosing control over the club head.
The general idea of club selection is to take an extra club and make a smooth swing. Since the ball will fly lower than your normal shot, look at the front of the green for trouble. If the front of the green is open, land the ball just short and allow for the ball to roll up onto the green. Try this shot on the practice tee prior to on the golf course. If you experience success on the range, take it to the golf course. If the knockdown shot is executed properly, you will enjoy playing more when the wind is blowing.
Ben Sinclair is a PGA member and golf pro at the Park City Golf Club.
For information on lessons and tee times, please call the golf shop at 615-5800.
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