With The Open Championship looming, the golfing world’s attention is turning to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The historic venue will prove a true test of golf and in order to be crowned the ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ and lift the Claret Jug, players are going to have to display an array of shot making and control their trajectory.
If the wind blows, the ‘knock down’ shot into a headwind is one we will see frequently used to master the conditions. Here our Teaching Professional Mike Bolt goes over some of the key Fundamentals needed to add this to you repertoire.
Take your normal iron set-up with the ball in the centre of your stance. From here, move the ball back an inch or so towards the right foot. Alongside this forward press the hands in front of the ball, so the lead arm and club shaft align more as one unit. This will take a little loft off the club and help you achieve the effective impact position along with a dynamic loft when making contact.
Often, when swinging into wind, players will try to hit the ball harder, in order to counteract the wind blowing directly into you. This will actually have the adverse effect: the more clubhead speed you generate, the more spin will be imparted onto the ball creating drag and resistance into the wind with a higher ball flight. Instead, feel your rhythm, stays smooth and concentrate on keeping the loft on the club down to achieve the desired strike.
TIP to help this: Take one more club than you usually would and take your hold at the bottom of the grip. Not only will this initially take loft off the club and produce a lower flight, but it will also encourage you to swing smoother, thus reducing swing speed and ball spin rate.
During the impact position, we are looking to present as little loft as possible, by maintaining the shaft and loft angle we created at impact. In order to do this, it needs to feel as though the back of the left hand is driving towards the ground, and there is no unnecessary ‘release’ or adding of loft.
To help achieve this solid impact position and the crucial low dynamic loft needed to keep the ball flight down, finish the golf swing with a reduced arm follow through, ensuring the body has rotated and been dominant in controlling the move through the ball.
Experiment playing this shot with different clubs and play around with the severity of the forward press and ball position changes. Having the ability to control trajectory is a great asset and with a little trial and error this shot can see your ball flight control improve dramatically.