The only thing worse than playing golf in the cold is playing golf in the wind. The game is hard enough in perfect conditions let alone a windstorm.
So next time you look at the forecast and you see that it might get a little breezy, don’t stay inside. Grab your clubs, hit the range and start practicing.
The first thing you need to do on your way to becoming a better “wind” golfer is to have a good understanding of how the air is going to affect your ball.
WIND IN YOUR FACE
In addition to significantly shortening the distance your ball travels, a breeze blowing into your face will magnify the flight of your ball.
So if you normally hit a 10 yard fade on a calm day and you step up to the tee with a 15 mph head wind in your face, you’ll want to play a 20 yard fade. The harder the wind is blowing the more you’ll want to compensate.
Many amateurs think they need to swing harder when playing a shot into the wind but they couldn’t be more wrong. Swinging hard puts spin on the ball and when that spinning ball hits the wind you get that “ballooning” effect where your ball goes way up in the air and lands 40 yard short of your target.
The correct play is to take one or two clubs more than you would normally hit, play the ball back in your stance and put a nice easy swing on the ball, trying to keep your hands ahead of the clubhead. If you do it right, the result will be a low penetrating shot that cuts right through the wind.
WIND AT YOUR BACK
We all love this kind of wind. Not only does it make us feel like we can hit the ball much farther than we actually can but it generally makes holes significantly easier to play (most of the time).
Just as a wind in your face will magnify your slice or hook, wind at your back will straighten your ball out. So your drive that normally fades 15 yards on a calm day might only fade 5 yards.
The tendency of most golfers playing with the wind is to club down and take a swing that will loft the ball way up into the air so that it carries for more distance but were not professionals and you should probably think twice about electing to do this.
The longer your ball is in the air the harder it is to predict where it’s going to land. So instead of throwing it way up into the sky, take one less club and try to just put a nice smooth swing on the ball. Sometimes it may even be beneficial to run the ball up on the green to ensure that you don’t hit and fly over the back.
Try these tips next time you see wind in the forecast and watch as your scores go down.