Golf isn’t easy. Even in the best of weather conditions, it’s one of the most difficult sports in existence. Add heavy winds to the equation and it’s a challenge unlike any other. But you can’t just bow out of a round because it’s a little windy. You have to adjust your game to meet a different set of demands. Wondering how it’s done? Curious as to how you can conquer those windy days? Then read on. Here’s a full guide to playing golf in the wind.
Keep Side Spin to a Minimum
Maybe you like to play a fade? Perhaps you like to play a draw? There’s nothing wrong with either . . . when the weather is decent.
Unfortunately, when heavy winds start blowing, they can turn a slight fade or a slight draw into a bad slice or a horrible hook. So, in short, any type of spin that your golf ball has on it will be compounded by the wind.
How do you combat this problem? By playing with as little side spin as possible. The more front spin you can put on your ball, the better off you’ll be.
Now, we know that reducing side spin isn’t easy, especially if it’s a regular part of your game. But you can usually reduce it by slowing down your swing and focusing on keeping your clubface square during impact.
Our advice is to hit the driving range before teeing off. See what you can do to lessen your fade or your draw and then use those same techniques during your round.
Gauge for Wind Adjustment
It doesn’t matter how crisply you strike your ball, if it’s windy out there, it’s going to get caught up. The only thing you can do to combat this is to gauge for adjustment prior to taking your shot.
In other words, if the wind is blowing heavy to the right, you should aim left of your intended target. Conversely, if it’s blowing to the left, you should aim right of your intended target.
Again, it’s wise to get out on the practice range prior to starting your round. This way, you’ll know just how much adjustment you need to make.
Club Up/Club Down
When the wind is blowing hard, you can’t always play your clubs at their typical distances. Why? Because a strong wind could turn a 120-yard 9-iron into a 100-yard 9-iron and could turn a 150-yard 6-iron into a 170-yard 6-iron.
As such, before each of your shots, you need to get a feel for the strength and direction of the wind. Only then will you know which club to use.
There are a number of ways to gauge the wind’s strength and direction, but the best option is to look for items that are blowing. Ideally, you’ll have a flagstick nearby that you can use to gauge the wind. But if you don’t, you could also tear up a few pieces of grass and let them fly; don’t toss them, just let them go and see which way the wind takes them.
Are you a particularly aggressive golfer? If so, and if you’re playing on a windy day, you might want to tone it down a bit. Generally speaking, aggressive golfers and heavy winds go together like ketchup and applesauce, which is to say that they don’t go well together at all.
Thinking about trying to clear that water on hole 8? The wind could put it right in. You might want to lay up instead.
Are you used to playing a draw in order to get a good angle on that dogleg? With the wind blowing, it’s going to be risky. Playing it short is the safer option.
Erratic with your driver? It’s only going to be worse in windy weather. You might want to consider playing a 3-wood instead.
Put simply, windy days are no time to get creative with your golf game. If you want to be successful, you have to play it relatively safe.
Sure, your score might not be as low. But the others’ scores won’t be as low either. Let them make the mistakes instead of you.
Keep It Low
As a rule of thumb, the higher you hit the ball, the less control you have over it. This is particularly true when it’s windy, as winds are stronger higher than they are lower. As such, on a windy day, you should do what you can to keep the ball low.
The easiest way to hit the ball lower is to put it further back in your stance. In doing so, you’ll allow your club to strike the ball on a downward trajectory, thus reducing its loft.
Another way to keep the ball low is to limit your follow-through. By extending your club outward during your follow-through as opposed to upward, you’ll put a lower trajectory on the ball.
Low shots are important in high winds not only because they have a smaller chance of getting caught up in said winds, but because they tend to have more speed on them as well. This increase in speed enables the ball to cut through the wind, limiting its effect.
Golf in the Wind Successfully With These Key Tips
It’s not easy to golf in the wind. But sometimes, it’s unavoidable. If you’re playing in a tournament or scheduled golf outing, you have to go out there and give it your best shot; these tips will help you to do so.
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