Tom Watson: Drive It Lower In Crosswinds

By Tom Watson Photos by J.D. Cuban
July 17, 2017

Because of my success on the windy links courses in the United Kingdom, I get asked a lot about how to hit the driver lower when a strong breeze is in your face. My response: Why would you want to hit it lower? If you hit a solid drive at your normal trajectory, it's going to go just as far, if not farther, than if you tried to play it low into the wind.

There are only two scenarios where it makes good sense to hit your driver lower than normal. The first is when you know the ball is going to run a long way once it hits the fairway. The second is when the wind is really blowing across the fairway, and it's going to greatly affect your normal shot shape. For example, strong gusts from the left could wreak havoc on someone who slices. That golfer needs to flight the ball lower just to keep it in play.

To hit your driver lower, make these adjustments: (1) Tee the ball a half inch lower than you usually do, and grip down on the handle about an inch. (2) Make a slightly shorter backswing. (3) Strike the ball with a level blow, meaning the clubhead should be moving low, just above the ground through impact.

A good swing thought is to quiet your wrists as you swing back and through. The ball will come out lower and be less susceptible to the breeze.

1.) Grip: Hold it lower on the handle.


2.) Backswing: Stay compact.


3.) Impact: Strike the ball with a level blow.


–With Ron Kapriske