Playing Golf in the Wind: for those who like surprises!
What’s going on with the weather this week!? Watch the tournaments on TV today and see how the pros handle these conditions. I know that the wind is playing havoc on golf games around the country. Scores are higher and it is a battle sometimes just to get through the round emotionally and physically! If you have seasonal allergies, your energy if really being zapped in this wind! So how do you adjust in these conditions? First of all, take your medication and then adjust your thinking about your game before you get to the course. Preparing your “game plan” before you start will save some wasted strokes. The best players adjust quickly to the conditions of the course and weather. Just know that your club selection will need to be very creative during your round.
To score your best, you must respect the wind and understand what the wind does to a golf shot. Here are some basics to remember: Headwinds: toughest winds to deal with. Are you the golfer who says. “it’s windy, I’ll just swing harder!!” Let’s change that thinking and get your balance, swing easier, and swing smoother with extra club. A rule of thumb is to add a club for every 10 mph of wind. For a 30 mph wind, add 3 clubs and concentrate on connecting the clubface to the ball! Imagine that! Solid contact equals a good shot!
If you are a slicer of the ball, you may want to consider playing on another day…you’ll be too busy contolling your misery. But if you do play, just know that a headwind magnifies the curve of a slice or fade, so be sure to allow for it. A slice goes higher and curves backwards, towards you! The stronger the wind, the greater effect on your shot. A right-to-left hook or draw travels on a lower trajectory, so its flight is less affected by headwind.
Tailwinds require a different choice of shot. Teeing off with a wind behind you is a great confidence builder! 200 yard tee shots are now going 280!! You could also over shoot the green, adding more chip shots to your round. The ball will stay in the air longer for more distance. A following wind will bring the ball down on a shallower angle than normal, so it will come in “hot” and roll more than usual. Club selection to the green will be LESS club. This is where the saying “tee it high and let it fly” came from.
Crosswinds will drive you crazy. For higher handicap players, my advice under these conditions is to just contact the ball and move it forward!! For the skilled player, here are some mathmatical, puzzle-building, and highly unpredictable things to think about. This is way too much confusion for most golfers to think about. There are two methods for handling a crosswind: Either work the ball into the wind, e.g. hit a left-to-right shot into a right-to-left breeze, or let the wind do the work. I like the latter method…it’s easier! Plan on the ball shifting approximately five yards for every 10 miles per hour of wind speed. For example, aim about 10 yards left of your target when hitting through a 20 mph, left-to-right crosswind. Now isn’t that helpful?
Remember that a crosswind will effect the shape of the shot, which should have some bearing on your aim. Depending on the direction of the wind, it will either increase or decrease the amount of bend on a fade or draw. Now if you can control all that AND hope the wind doesn’t change it’s mind while your ball is in flight, you’ll be a genius!
As for putting, the greens are usually dryer and faster in the wind. Adjust for that also.
As I said…JUST SWING SMOOTH AND HIT IT…and then hit it again!! Or just come back tomorrow after the wind has calmed and so have you!
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