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Adjusting for Wind

The Tweed-Jacket Finish

The tweed-jacketed links golfers in archival photographs swung differently than we do today, but it wasn't just because of their old-fashioned clubs. To keep the ball under the wind, they knew how to impart as little spin as possible to the ball by swinging with soft arms and hands. As a result, their arms folded naturally around their bodies on the follow-through. They finished their swing with their right thumbs near their left ears (see illustration at left) rather than finishing high and powerful, as is the modern ideal (and which might have been impossible anyway while wearing a tight tweed jacket). The idea is to minimize wrist cock and to avoid making a sharp, descending blow at impact, which causes the ball to ride up the clubface and take on spin. The more spin a ball has, the more distance and accuracy it loses in a strong wind. Instead, the goal is to squash the ball toward the target with the clubface sweeping low and smoothly down the line.

The Tiger Stinger

The stinger shot that Tiger Woods has popularized keeps the ball low off the tee. Using a driver, three-wood or long iron, it can be great in windy conditions but requires practice and a good bit of strength to do properly. Put the ball an inch or two farther back in your stance than normal and grip down on the club an inch for more control. Then focus on keeping your left wrist bowed through impact—that is, firm and uncocked, with the back of the hand facing the target­—which effectively delofts the club. At address, mentally prepare yourself to stop the follow-through as quickly as possible—that's the key. Your body will have to brace itself. Tiger sometimes actually recoils on these shots, a testament to his tremendous strength, because his clubhead is traveling at 130 miles per hour. But a more practical goal for most amateurs is a kind of half finish (see right), with the upper body rotating through, the butt of the club pointed down at the ground and your eyes still looking at where the ball was. On these shots I think, "Watch the divot." The ball should come out low, ideally with a bit of draw spin, and it should roll forever.

The Faldo Golf Institutes

Chip Koehlke, U.S. Director of Instructional Programs

The curriculum at Faldo Golf Institutes is built around fundamentals. Each site offers schools, private lessons and club-fitting sessions.

Marriott's Grande Vista; Orlando, Florida

Marriott's Shadow Ridge; Palm Desert, California

Seaview Marriott Resort; Galloway, New Jersey

Marco Island Marriott Resort; Marco Island, Florida

Brocket Hall Golf Club; Hertfordshire, England

For the U.S. institutes, call 888-463-2536 or visit gofaldo.com. For Brocket Hall, call 011-44/1707-368-786 or visit brocket-hall.co.uk.

Nick Faldo on the Air

Nick Faldo's wit, insights about golf and candid assessments of fellow Tour professionals can be heard on the following scheduled telecasts:

June 30-July 1, Buick Open, Warwick Hills (CBS)

July 5-8, AT&T National, Congressional (Golf Channel; CBS)

August 2-5, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone (CBS)

August 11-12, PGA Championship, Southern Hills (CBS)

August 23-26, Barclays Classic, Westchester (Golf Channel; CBS)

August 31-September 1, Deutsche Bank Championship, TPC Boston (Golf Channel)


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