- Hitting with ease despite the breeze
- Great Golf in Windy Cases
- Golfing and Gust: Playing in The Wind
It’s a common problem for golfers to play in the wind. This mainly due to having the wrong approach to these inconvenient forces of nature. Many players will attempt to hit it harder but this will only leave you with more spin on the ball. Let’s look at how you can play comfortably in windy conditions.
- Wind direction will impact your shots
- Placing the ball correctly in your stance can make a huge difference.
- Striking Under the Wind is harder than it looks
The Biggest Factors
When you find yourself in the challenging situation of playing in gust, there are three major factors that you need to be aware of.
Avoid Swinging Harder
We will probably warn you a lot about swinging harder- this is tempting but don’t do it. Playing in breezy conditions doesn’t mean you have to swing harder. When you come to terms with this, you are most likely to look forward to those windy rounds.
Spinning is The Ultimate Nemesis
Again, the more power you put onto your swing, the more spin you have on the ball. Spin is very bad in the wind as it hinders your general distance and dispersion.
Wind Direction Shifts Shots
When you play into the wind, the arc of your shot will be affected, which means that your shots will turn more than normal. Consequently, in case you hit a draw (a shot that curves from a player’s right to their left) or fade (moves from left to right) know that it will move more. When you’re playing in front of the wind, your higher shots will be affected more than your lower ones. It will also lessen the ball’s ability to curve.
Let’s quickly touch on the different wind directions, and how you should play in them.
Wind can and will disturb all your shots, as well as putts if you don’t know how to deal with them. Multiple directions of wind move your ball differently. Below is an outline of how to play through the different wind directions.
Into the Wind
Here you don’t need to overswing when striking the ball into the wind. Just relax and check that you have a decent and easy flowing tempo. You should also place the ball back in your stance slightly. Now, position the weight to your front foot a little, shorten your finish and take more club.
In downwind you must take less club. Hold the club gently and keep your body behind the ball. By doing this you can launch the ball higher so it can go along with the wind and ensure more distance.
When playing in crosswinds, you must decide if accuracy or distance is most important. When you want to be more accurate, try to strike the ball in the reverse direction that the wind is blowing in. If you want more distance, strike the ball in the identical direction as the wind and have the ball move along the breeze.
Here a stinger shot is extremely helpful. To hit a stinger, you must de-loft the club and maneuver your hands forward. Pull the ball back in the stance, shorten your finish and ensure you swing across the ball.
Tips and Tricks
Now we’ve got the fundamentals of what to expect when playing golf in the wind. Here are some tips that will improve your golfing in the wind.
Don’t Use Force
In case you haven’t noticed already, the secret to playing in the wind is a gentler, more controlled swing. This will help you strike the ball solidly and reduce spinning. Don’t think that you are just going to power it through the wind. Using excessive force will possibly send the ball far up into the air; far away from your planned target.
Taking More or Less
It’s extremely uncommon that golfers take too much club when they are hitting into the wind. When you have the wind in your face it’s alright to take three more clubs than you might under regular circumstances. Taking more club and swinging with an easier tempo will keep the ball lower so it will move to your intended target more efficiently.
When the wind is blowing behind you, think about the arc of the club you are using. For example, when using a pitching wedge, the wind is going to make it travel further since the ball will be higher in the air. Also, using a long iron in windy conditions will not transfer the ball as far. It may even let it dip slightly lower than it ordinarily would soar.
Play Back in Your Stance
A brilliant idea is to play the ball around three inches back in your stance in the wind. Now you can secure the ball a little more and reduce ball flight.
Create Space to Move
By now you know that when you play into the wind the ball will curve more than it normally does. With that in mind, you have to give the ball more room to move. Yes you will feel uncomfortable and nervous at first, but you have to make this part of your strategy before your shot.
Survey the Area
When stepping onto a windy course, it is best to have a good look at your surroundings. Take note of how the wind moves and what obstacles you may face. Let’s say you’re on a links course, it’s simpler to understand the wind’s direction in the open spaces. But not all courses are without its challenges- trees and lakes can be problematic.
However, trees can be an advantage, the treetops can give you an indication of which direction the wind is blowing.
Keep track of the wind’s direction on the last hole you played as this can be a useful tool for the holes coming up.
A little hint. When you’ve played downwind and the following hole plays at right angles you’re likely stepping into a crosswind. A course planner can be handy here.
Fighting and Riding the Crosswind
Knowing when to fight or ride the crosswind is easy. When the outline of a hole provides you with some space, then you should ride the wind. This means hitting the ball into the wind and letting it blow your ball back.
In a narrowed fairway with trees on the side the wind is coming from, that’s when you may need to try and hold the ball up with a little cut shot into a right-to-left wind, or a draw if it’s from left-to-right. In any situation you should keep it simple and ride the wind.
Height of the Tee
When you tee higher than normal downwind, you will have added launch and gain the upper hand in these conditions. When playing into the wind, tee slightly lower. This allows for a flatter flight and extra run.
You will have to take care in this approach. When you hit too low you might hit down on it too much and add more spin. Be careful not to hit too low, if possible, hit below the equator of the ball.
Chipping to a Punch
Chip shots are a model design for a punch shot into the wind. This is mainly since you play it with your hands in front and shorten the finish without discharging the wrists. To become comfy with a low shot, begin by chipping some 7-irons 30 yards.
When you progressively extend the swing, you will have an increased chance of a nice flat shot that takes spinning away.
To make the experience interesting, take your time to experiment with different clubs- even hybrids. Many players are content with the chip and run approach. So, focus on progressively extending this technique between 50 to 100 yards.
When playing in windy conditions, there are a few practical things you can do before and during shots.
Loosen Your Swing
Ah, here is that gentle reminder again to not swing harder. You’re not superman so you won’t be able to beat the wind by hitting the ball harder Swinging harder will interrupt your game and lead to your score suffering.
Also, when you swing harder you will have a lot more backspin than you think. Backspins will leave your shots to be affected by the wind and result in landing short or in the rough. Like we’ve said before , swing easy when it’s breezy and you will have a low handicap.
Striking Under the Wind
It’s not that easy to strike under the wind. The good news is that with a simple alteration to your ball position, you could strike under the worst of the wind out on the course. All you should do is play the ball an inch back in your stance than you usually do.
By doing this your ball will fly lower than normal. Now you have a better chance of your shots not being affected by all the wind.
Fine-tune your Shots
Crosswinds are unavoidable when you’re out on the fairway. So put in a bit of prep work, change your tee position, and swing accordingly. Let’s say there’s a right-to-left crosswind; place your tee on the right side of the tee box and strike into the wind.
Now you are likely to have a better chance of successfully playing the wind. Also, your shot will now have the space needed to straighten itself out on the golf course.
Keeping your balance can get worse when it’s breezy on the course, as the wind will amplify problems you may have. The best way to keep both feet on the ground during your swing is by widening your stance slightly. This is the trick to lowering your center of gravity, improving your steadiness, and above everything else, balance your shots.
Pick the Best Weapons
When swinging nice and loose because of the wind, you need to be mindful of the right club for the gusty conditions. Commonly, for every 10mph of wind against you, you have to hit one more club. In other words, a shot you would typically make with a 7 iron might need a 6 iron if there’s some wind in your face.
Ultimately, we can’t control the weather. We can only learn to live with it and deal with it. The more you golf in the wind and become aware of how it affects your shots, the better you will become at dealing with the situation.
When stepping onto the green, remind yourself that judging the wind is just one factor to a good shot. While you are still learning to determine it correctly, follow the guidelines above and most importantly don’t let the wind blow over your love for the sport.