How to Attack Doglegs on Windy Days


The situation

You’re on the tee of a 400-yard par 4 that doglegs to the left and the pin is cut on the far left side of the green. There’s tree trouble to the left of the fairway and water up the right side, and a stiff wind is blowing from left to right.

The Top 100 Teachers Say

45% — Play your fade and ride the wind

22% — Fight the wind and play a draw

19% — Hit into the wind and let it blow your ball back

14% — Other (long-iron, hybrids, low shots)

If you can work the ball
Play a hold-up draw (Yellow Arrow)

Set up: Middle of tee box
Aim: Center of fairway
Swing: Play your everyday draw with a 3-wood (it’s easier to shape than a driver). The left-to-right wind and right-to-left shot shape should even out, putting you in the middle.
Pro: Takes water out of play.
Con: Overcook it and you’ll be in the trees; undercook it and you’re in the drink.

“Always err on the opposite side of a dogleg. You can still make par even if you hit into the water off the tee.”
Top 100 Teacher Anne Cain

Play into the wind (Blue Arrow)

Set up: Toward right tee marker
Aim: Left side of fairway
Swing: Don’t make any setup or swing adjustments. Make your regular swing with either your driver or 3-wood and hit toward the left edge of the fairway. The wind should blow the ball back to the center.
Pro: No need to make any setup or swing adjustments.
Con: Slight loss of distance.

“Most of a hole’s yardage occurs before the dogleg — hit only what you need to get past the bend and in the fairway, even if it’s an iron.”
Top 100 Teacher Kevin Walker

Ride the wind (Red Arrow)

Set up: Toward right tee marker
Aim: Up the left side
Swing: Hit your driver and start the ball up the edge of the treeline. The combined effects of the left-to-right wind and left-toright spin should put you in the right side of the fairway.
Pro: Takes the trees out of play.
Con: None, unless you really slice it.

“With the pin cut left, position A is the right side of the fairway because it gives you the clearest view of your target. Distance is never as important as hitting to the correct side.”
Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams

Ask The Top 100
Expert advice from the best teachers in the game

Question: I often hit pop-ups with my sand wedge. What causes this?
Greg M., Boston, Mass.

Answer: You’re not staying low and you’re not staying long. Staying low means not standing up before you finish your swing. Fight curiosity and the urge to “peek” at your result and keep your head down and your spine angle intact throughout the shot. Also, play the ball back of center in your stance to encourage a lower trajectory.

Staying long means moving your club along the line of flight after impact. This will not only help you hit the ball crisply, but will get it flying toward your target. After impact, try to shake hands with the pin, extending your right arm down the target line. It helps if you finish low with your arms in front of your body, not above your shoulders.
Top 100 Teacher Craig Shankland LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.

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