Into the Wind: "Flight The Ball Right With These Tips" - James Jordan
Picture Demonstrations attached for a visual display.
10-24-2014: Fall season is among us and here in Southern California we face the blustering winds of the Santa Ana's. I'm sure at some point (no matter your region) you too have been faced with windy conditions which can challenge your game more than ever.
Recently, I've had a handful of students come to me with their challenges in how to keep the ball down and better their distance control from well struck shots (that still come up short into the wind). I hear it all the time...
"James, I'm hitting it solidly, yet the ball comes up 10/20 yards short"
"James, Even when I hit it well, the ball balloons up into the sky a mile high and can't seem to control the ball flight"
" James, What I do is... try to put the ball back in the stance, grip it a little firmer and try to hit down or trap the ball for control"
Golfers.... Have you witnessed these challenges? Does this all sound too familiar? I know early on playing and learning the game I sure could relate.
It's fine if you want to execute the into the wind shot this way. Just make sure you have a "Lightspeed" Greenskeeper who can mow out a green 30 yards short of the one you're aimed at, once you hit the shot. ;)
Now that I've brought a sense of familiarity to what you've witnessed and struggled with, I want to provide the right fundamentals and idea to assist in you performing the "into the wind" shot correctly.
1) Take More Club: More club means less loft. With less loft the ball is able to flight at a lower height not allowing the wind to effect the shot as much.
2) Choke down on the club (preferably an inch for starters) By choking down on the club, you allow for more control overall and generally (in conjunction with more club / less loft) you will have a sense of keeping things more shallow in this particular shot.
3) Ball Positioning: Place the ball a half ball and or ball back from the usual position in your stance. This will allow for a slight decrease in loft and with the right shallow approach you can maintain a lower flight when struck properly.
4) Angle of Clubface at address: Naturally some like the clubface close to square or ever so slightly open at address (stock shot). I've spent some time with good players over the years and found out that many keep the face ever so slightly shut (think the toe of the club pointed ever so slightly down /left ). From testing the numbers and spin from this address position, we've witnessed even less spin on the golf ball. Something about a shut face keeps things working more shallow.
NOTE: The Clubface slightly shut many times will start the ball on your target line and have the ball working left (right handed golfer). You must have the path of the club before impact work ever so slightly RIGHT to compensate. Ideally, when done correctly you will hit a low draw or straight shot as the path and face are working correctly pre/at/post impact. If you notice a lower flight (yet the ball is moving too far left or is pulled) be mindful of the path of club working more right. Not Right field (and do your best to not over amplify it), just a little more right pre-impact.
5) Shallow the total swing: The idea of placing the ball in the back of the stance and hitting down (or trapping the ball) makes me quiver. The last thing you want to do is have too vertical a take away and have a club angle into impact that is steep on the downswing. What will suit you best is keeping the take away and total swing shallow. Think about the club staying very low to the ground in the take away and do your best to match that shallowness at / post impact. The club already works down as is, so adding a steeper AOA (angle of attack) is trouble and all bets are off for a lowered flight.
In edition to these 5 tips make sure you are relaxed over all when performing a shot into the wind. Keep the grip from the palm region up into the arms soft. Don't feel the need to swing harder as the wind is devilish to your psyche manufacturing some crazy idea to "swing hard.... You want the opposite... With the implementation of less loft, the grip choked down on the club, ball position / clubface adjustments and a shallow approach to the shot... Things really do take care of their self.
Get to the range and get to work. In no time, you'll be paired up or playing in your local money game having your playing partners say "why the heck didn't I leave my wallet in the car"!!! That's the moment I care to hear about most...That's pretty much why I teach ;)
Good Luck Students, Friends & Golfers! - JJ
“Thank you James! As much as Michelle’s father and I have taught her, you have built some mental confidence in her as she starts her AJGA Golf journey. We appreciate you and what you’ve taught Michelle swing wise and mentally”.
– Mischa Jung
“It’s been more than an improvement in swing and fundamentals with James. Since we met (2011) he’s inspired me to set goals, visualize and enjoy the game of Golf. I’m learning to grow emotionally, technically and mentally more by the work I’ve done with him than any other”
– Aaron Lee
“After winning the putting contest at our charity event, James gave a few pointers out to some of us on the practice green. The tips were very helpful and he sure is a passionate young man!”
– Bob Miller
Los Angeles Kings Announcer
“On the professional level, visualization and belief is just as important as swing fundamentals. James has been a supporting and passionate light in my life, when it comes to the mental aspect of the golf game”.
– Justin Itzen
Canadian & Golden State Tour Professional
“I was lucky enough to meet James the day he shot a course record “61” at the Encino golf course. He had another friend he was helping that day, and was answering most my questions about the short game. He chipped in twice and seemed like he couldn’t miss a putt, so it was only right I bugged him! He really knows a great deal about the game”.
– Charles Kim
“It’s always a good decision to see James before one of our Laker tournaments. He relates the tempo and feel of the golf swing “Like Shooting A Free Throw“ Nice and Smooth. Thanks for your help J”.
– Elgin Baylor
Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer
"Thank you James for working so patiently with us and introducing us to the basics of Golf. We truly enjoyed your help golfing on season 4 of our show!"
– Joyce & Kyle Richards
"Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills"
“James Has inspired many players of all levels (including myself) to work hard at improving their game. Teaching young and old, neophytes and seniors how to play the game of golf with a zeal and circumspection few purely golf teachers dare to parse. James' approach blends the refined methods of physical strength, fitness, rigid but sensible diet and the power of inner focus to achieve the "way of the Tiger," referencing Wood's brilliance on the course. "After all his [Tiger's] achievements never were taken lightly or casually assumed to be a given. To get to the top, you need to think like a champion," Jordan offers. He matches his reflection with measured optimism philosophically.”
– Dr. Jimmy Jordan
PGA Professional 1990-2010
“When I came to James, I was trying to teach myself “stack and tilt” and self diagnose. I found that many of my fundamentals and self diagnostics we’re hurting my swing and golf performance. One day at the range, James noticed the challenges and offered to assist in bettering my swing. The changes that night were immediately effective and we began the process of a weekly meeting in bettering my swing. He has immensely improved my swing and thought process along the way”
– Angelo Palumbo
Licensed Fitness Instructor
“I’ve met James A few times at my charity clinics. People seem to be just as fascinated with his teachings as they are with me hitting the long ball”.