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When The Wind is Whipping, Follow the Lead of Dustin Johnson

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A detail view of the pin flag for the 14th green during Saturday Morning Foursome Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 25, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

You don’t have to be playing alongside the shores of Lake Michigan to compete against the wind. Golfers face this invisible foe all over the world on the course. American Ryder Cup team member Dustin Johnson looked into a stiff breeze on the second hole as he held his fairway wood. He knew only a flighted shot would be able to reach the green.
To create that same penetrating ball flight pay attention to a couple of key characteristics about DJ’s swing. When you want to keep the ball on a lower trajectory, you have to lead in two ways.
  1. LEAD with the handle. Keep that handle ahead of the strike at impact. Do this by turning through the shot, don’t stop swinging. When you slow the handle, it steepens our approach to the back of the ball. That creates spin and lift, the opposite of our goal.
  2. Turn the LEAD hand down. In transition, turn the back of your lead hand down toward the ball. This will trap it more at impact and really lower the flight. It’s a different feeling for some so make sure you practice this turn on the range.
The last and most important step in hitting it lower is visualizing and feeling the flight you desire. See the ball going lower and then mirror that image in your mind with the swing. Keep that follow-through low and toward the target. Of course with a forward handle and low lead hand you’ll be able to get there easier than you think.

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