We have had a few single axis golfers ask us our advice on how to play golf in the wind. What we recommend for handling different shots and how the wind might affect these shots.
Especially this time of year – it seems the wind seems to pick up (especially if you live in the “flat” states as we do..). You have a choice when playing in the wind – you can either “fight” the wind or not. Let’s talk about what we mean in some different situations.
Wind Into Your Face: (When you are hitting shots directly into the wind).
First – remember – when you hit a golf shot, the lift on the shot is produced by hitting down into the ball, the hitting down action produces spin which lifts the ball. When you are hitting into the wind – you DON’T want more spin. This will produce too much lift and a “ballooned” shot which will go up and come down short of your target.
1. For every 1 mph of wind into your face add 1 yard. If 10 mph into your face, add 10 yards… Meaning a 10 mph wind into your face is what is called a 1 club wind.
2. Swing EASY. It is recommended to take 1 more club than you need after taking the wind into affect. For example, if you hit a 7 iron 150 yards, have 10 mph into your face, you would play it as 160 yards (a 6 iron) than add 1 club (a 5 iron). Take 1 more club after factoring the wind so you will swing easy – this easy swing will produce less spin and thus the ball will not balloon up.
3. Ball position – back up in your stance slightly. It is recommend to back the ball up in your stance slightly in order to help you hold the angles of impact and to help keep the loft off the club.. meaning – make sure you hold angles of impact and don’t break down or “cast” the club. This casting increases loft of the club at impact and will also cause the ball to balloon.
4. Hold impact angle (firm leading wrist) as long as possible. As stated in #3 – this angle will help keep the ball down and not balloon into the wind.
Downwind (Hitting Shots with the Wind):
1. As with the wind into your face – factor wind the same way (except this will add distance to your shots). For every 1 mph of wind downwind – take 1 yard off your shot. Meaning, if you have 10 mph of wind downwind – take one less club than normal. If you typically hit a 7 iron 150 yards and have 10 mph wind downwind – hit a 8 iron (or very easy 7 iron..).
2. Ball position is the same as normal shots (with no wind).
3. When hitting downwind, the wind will take some of the spin off the shot. Meaning, if you typically hit shots that spin or hold greens, downwind shots will not hold as well (less spin). Play shots accordingly – meaning these shots will bounce further when they hit the green and roll out a little more.
4. Severely Downwind Shots… If you have a lot of wind downwind – say 30 to 40 mph downwind – this wind tends to “knock the shots out of the air”. Or in other words, push the ball down to the ground. The reason for this is that amount of wind takes most of the spin off the shot and pushes the ball down. To calculate (a lot by experience) – if 40 mph downwind, you may only take 20 to 30 yards off the shot rather than 40 yards as that much wind will reduce flight of the ball.
Other Points with Downwind Shots –
There is a greater affect the longer the ball is in the air. Meaning – a 6 iron will be affected by the wind a lot more than a wedge. Both will go further than normal – the 6 iron a longer as it is in the air longer…
Crosswind (Hitting shots with wind right to left or left to right):
1. We typically recommend to “ride the wind”. Meaning, for example, if the wind is blowing right to left and you are right handed, play the shot right of the hole and let the wind blow back to the target. This riding the wind will typically allow you to play the “normal” yardage shot (for example – if you hit a 7 iron from 150 yards, a crosswind 7 iron will still be 150 yards) unless the wind is very severe. If you choose to play into the wind – meaning if right to left wind and you play shot left to right, the shot will react more like a into the wind shot (as described above).
2. When playing a cross wind shot line up accordingly. For example – if a right to left wind – line up slightly to the right and hit the ball as straight as possible – and let the wind do the “work” for you. Try not to push or pull the shot into the wind… typically causes side spin on the shot which is hard to control in normal situations, not to mention windy conditions.
Other Points to Consider When Playing Wind Shots:
1. Wind DOES affect putts. There is wind close to the ground also. Play the wind accordingly when putting. Into the wind – hit a little harder, etc..
2. You might consider playing a slightly harder ball when playing in windy conditions.. a harder ball will spin less and be affected less by the wind.
3. Play more fairway woods or hybrids when possible (especially when into the wind). These clubs produce less spin which will be affected less by the wind.
4. Always remember to swing EASIER when in windy conditions – for many it is “instinctive” to swing harder – swinging easier produces less spin and thus the shots will be affected by the wind less.
PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime!!
Remember – ALWAYS PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE