Trouble Shots – How To Play Golf In The Wind For Duffers
Golf is a game played with multiple variables. Each time the golfer plays he must adjust to the variables as they exist that day. The course superintendant moves the pins and the tees a matter of course. The golfer’s own swing can vary from round to round. All of these and more make play golf on your home course a unique experience every time.
One of the more significant variables is the wind. All golfers, including professionals, find windy conditions to be among the most difficult to manage. Scores for rounds played when it is windy are regularly higher than on calm days. Wind at 20 mph raises the level of difficulty by a factor of 3, no matter your handicap.
Most amateurs under estimate the wind effects on their ball flight. Not only does the wind shorten the distance of a shot (tail wind excluded) but it also exaggerates the effect of our swing mistakes. For example do you normally hit a high fade? Into the wind that same shot becomes a shorter higher slice. There is no hiding a swing fault when the wind is involved.
Double D, my golf buddy, and I just finished a round in extreme windy conditions. Our group has a wide variety of shot types so those with high ball flights struggled to keep the ball down today. He was able to play well throughout the day, making the proper adjustments to compensate for the wind. He suggests you do the following:
Use the Knockdown Shot: Produces a lower penetrating ball flight.
Use at least two more clubs than distance indicates.
Play the ball back in your stance a bit.
Hands ahead of the ball at address and at impact.
Use a 3/4 swing – swing from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock.
Turn the back of the forward wrist down at impact.
Tail Wind Success: Take advantage of the tail wind opportunities
Tee the ball a bit higher.
Move the ball a bit forward in your stance.
Plan on extra carry and role.
Cross Wind Management: You are forced to choose between curving the ball into the wind or against it.
Against the wind the ball will land softer with less roll.
With the wind the ball will roll out much farther than normal.
If you can’t curve the ball at will, try guessing how far to the upwind side of your target you need to aim and allow the wind to carry your ball to the target.
Keep the ball low by using the knockdown shot often. You will find that it is easier to control distance even when hitting with the wind. Be mindful that balance is difficult to maintain when the wind is especially strong. Pay careful attention to it.
The wind will effect putting as well and must be taken into account for both distance and break. Remember too that the greens will be dryer and faster because of the wind as well.
Make these adjustments on windy days and your scorecard will never notice the difference.