Unfair Advantage: Master Playing Golf in the Wind

Dan Gold
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How to Play Golf in the Wind

Play golf in the wind and if you want to control the ball at your own pace, that’s a good start. It sounds easy but it’s not.

This works only for the strong and the experienced golfers because it requires a good balance of mind and body.

Some common sense guidelines:

Your ball position should be well-balanced on your stance.

Put your weight-60% on your back foot and 40% on your front foot.

If you’re hitting a long shot, your weight should be on your front foot but not the toes.

The best thing you can do is to practice in the mirror to find out the right aiming point.

Hitting in the wind is all about hitting through the target point.

Having a short and straight shot is always better than a long one.

And One Last Bit of Advice…

Put the wind behind you as much as possible.

Evaluate the Strength of the Wind

It would be nice if you could just grab your ball and head off into the sunshine, but almost every round of golf played around the world is basically played in the wind.

Although modern clubs and balls make your job easier, the wind is always a factor that you must take into consideration while playing golf. It can impact the flight of the golf ball, making it travel different distances and altering its trajectory.

It can be breezy out there one second and then suddenly it’s a gale. You must be prepared to deal with an ever-changing environment while playing golf. It’s one of the hardest parts of the game and a lot of top players have been undone by the wind.

For example, Tiger Woods has said that, “If you have a bad day in the wind, you’ve got a good chance of bogeying every hole.”

So I Want You to Think about How You’d like to Approach the Wind as You’re Playing Golf

If you like to come up with a plan before you do anything, here’s the start of a nice little “Business-to-Business” conversation for you.

You: What direction is the wind blowing?

Swing Easy

Miss Easy.

When the heat is on, there is one unwritten rule: Keep it simple! Do not try to overswing to make a long drive. Utilize an easier swing and rhythm, and concentrate on hitting the ball on the sweet spot.

Since the wind will affect your game, you should play with the wind on your back. That’s ideal for straight shots. If you play into the wind, you will have to alter your stance, grip and swing a little so the wind does not affect the shot. This is where the curve will come into play.

Play The Ball Slightly Back

When you miss hit a shot is definitely a frustrating feeling. The biggest disappointment comes when you are smart and pick a club that gets the ball in the fairway but still leaves the ball plugged in the mud.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are looking at your approach shot, but one of the biggest factors is the wind, especially when you are hitting shots into the wind.

When you are hitting shots into the wind it is not uncommon for the ball to start left and finish right. You can solve this one of two ways:

{1}. Use a club that has a little bit more loft. That will cause the ball to start a little bit left of target but let the wind turn the ball over to the right.
{2}. You can start the ball on the left but move the ball slightly back in your stance to cause the ball to start farther left but finish closer to the desired flight line.

Choose the club you are going to play based on the conditions of the day. If it is a windy day and the ball is not going to stop on a dime at the green, use the second option to keep the ball from sitting down

On the green. If you have a tailwind and the ball is going to roll once it gets to the green, then you can play a club with a little less loft and use the first option.

Finish Low to Hit it Low

It is a commonly held belief among golfers that it is better to hit a lower ball in the wind than a higher one, and that seems to hold true most of the time.

If you hit your ball low in the wind, it has the chance to be dropped.

But if you hit it high in the wind, it tends to move farther downwind after being airborne, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

It can get further away from the target, and the stronger gusts that come from the left to back of the green, can make it land on an undulation in the ground and bounce into a dangerous place.

You want to play it softer to get it closer to the hole, and the way to control that is to hit it lower.

The goal is to create a lower trajectory so you have more control over where it goes after it’s been hit.

Decide Your Shot Shape

To decide where to aim the shot, ask yourself, “How far up and down the hole will I go if I try to propel the ball with this shot?” There isn’t a set formula that will pinpoint the spot precisely, but picturing the hole as a two dimensional surface (not a three dimensional bowl), the best place to aim is two thirds of the distance from the edge of the green to the hole.

If you can find this spot, you’ll be able to judge the amount of green you can use from the particular yardage; then you’ll have a fair idea of what club to use.

Take careful note of the flag position, as the shorter the shot, the more you’ll want to draw the ball.

Whatever you do, don’t think about the wind. Don’t even think about how you’re going to have to accept any extra distance you might pick up on the club.

Other Tips to Play in the Wind

Playing in the wind is one of the hardest challenges in golf. You have to worry about extra bounce, wider curves, longer carry, and extra roll.

Another side effect – the wind can sap your strength, your confidence, and your concentration.

Lest you lose, here are some good tips to play better in the wind.

Like the same effect of uphill puts extra pressure on your legs, the wind can give you extra pressure put on your mind.

So remain calm and remember that the wind doesn’t switch in your favor to stay in that direction.

It’s your job to keep the ball in play and get the ball to finish in the hole. That’s your job. Don’t worry about the wind trying to distract you.

If the wind is behind you, it’s best to make a shot with a bit of slice to compensate for the roll.

If you have a shot with a lot of roll, make it as smooth as possible. Try to land the ball with the face of the clubface nearly perpendicular to the ground.

If you have a shot with a lot of backspin, go after it with a lot of confidence. With the low backspin and the low speed of the wind, it is quite likely that the ball will lift but not roll much.

How to Hit a Driver Low Into The Wind

People often ask me how I hit a ball 300 yards and as straight as an arrow.

They think there must be some “magic” involved. But I’ve discovered a lot of golfers who have good distance are just found of hard work.

You can’t have a consistent shot if you can’t hit it consistently.

It’s not much different than hitting the ball straight downwind. Really, you want to hit the ball more of a draw than a punch.

But unlike a driver, when the wind is at your back you don’t think draw. Why? Because when the wind blows toward you, you want to think more draw.

When you stand over your ball, position your ball so you can see the flag. That’s where we are going. You don’t want to think you are aiming short of the green.

You’ve got to try to picture where the ball can go and then get into position to make it happen.

Conclusion

It’s been said many times and in many ways that 90% of being a great golfer is between the ears. In SITU this means trusting your shot selections, understanding the swing, getting the yips out of your game and understanding the mental and emotional game.

The other 90% is physical and involves a dogged commitment to always doing the right things while doing the wrong things as little as possible. You win the mental game by playing solid golf shots and you play solid shots by first finding your unfair advantage and then doing 100% of the physical work. You do the work physically to hopefully negate or compensate for any inherent deficiencies associated with being human.