Being a golfer in Reno, Nevada means dealing with the weather. On any given day it could snow, then get sunny, then begin gusting wind. On days when it rains or snows, many people (including myself) try not to golf. And on an exceptionally windy day, I probably will try not to play. But those days where there is a strong breeze? Count me in. My experience, as well as some research I have done in the past, have helped me to better deal with wind, and I hope these little tips can help you as well. Following each of these individual tips should combine to help you hit successful shots in the wind.
There are three types of wind shots; headwind, tailwind, and side wind. Obviously, sometimes the wind will be in your face and to the left, so you must adjust. In this post, I will give some pointers for hitting with the wind and hitting into a cross wind.
Hitting with the Wind
In my last post, I outlined some tips for golfing into the wind, which is the hard part. Fortunately, on almost every golf course, for every hole you are forced to hit into the wind, you get a hole with the wind at your back. And while having the wind in your favor can be beneficial, it can also cause some problems. Below, I have laid out some of the problems you may face, and some easy solutions.
Let’s start with the tee shot, specifically hitting driver. The biggest problem most golfers face when hitting with the wind; over swinging. It’s an easy trap to fall into. When the wind is at your back, you feel the need to try to hit the ball as far as you can, and the wind will take it eve further. Golfers love the idea of getting an extra 20 yards off the tee, but try to force it. When hitting a ball into the wind, take the same swing as usual, nice and easy, and the distance will come. But when you speed up your swing, going for those extra 20 yards, bad things can happen.
Next, let’s focus on iron shots. While hitting irons with the wind is easier than against it, distance control is still a major factor, especially for golfers who expect to hit a lot of greens. One of the most important factors for getting the distance correct on your approaches is understanding your swing. If you generally hit the ball high, the wind is going to take it a lot farther than someone with a low trajectory. After understanding this, the next step is to club down. Obviously the ball will go further than if there was no wind, but I club down even further. I do his because the wind will not only make your ball fly further, it will also roll further. For example, I hit my 9 iron very high, and about 165 yards. If I had a pretty decent amount of wind at my back, I would expect to fly the ball somewhere around 175. However, while my 9 iron usually gets about 3-4 yards of roll on greens, I would expect it to get maybe 7-8 yards with wind. Accounting for this, I would want to hit a full 9 iron on a hole that is around 185 yards with wind, whereas I would hit it at a hole around 170 yards usually.
The last tip I have for hitting with the wind is on chips/pitches. While the ball stays low, and mostly out of the wind, the roll factor still comes into account. When hitting with the wind into a green, expect a good amount more roll than usual. I generally aim for the front of any green when chipping with the wind, expecting the wind to push the ball towards the middle/back of the green. This can be seen in greater detail here
Hitting into a Crosswind
Crosswinds are generally the easiest types of winds to golf in. There is very little swing changes you need to make, and the most important tip I can give is to know your swing. Again, higher hitters are more affected by wind, and will need to aim further to one side or the other to account for this wind.
The other tip I can give for hitting into a crosswind is that any curve on the ball in the direction of the wind will be GREATLY exaggerated. If I (a right handed golfer who naturally hit a draw) is forced to hit a shot with the wind roaring from right to left, I know my draw will be even greater. While the pro tip would be to hit a cut and fight the wind, most average golfers (myself included) can’t control their flight path. So the only solution you can take is to aim even further to one side. Another possible solution is to follow the tips I outlined in my last blog about hitting into the wind, and follow these tips. They may not perfectly translate, but achieving a lower ball flight will give your ball less exposure to the wind.
If you follow the couple tips I mentioned above, you should have more success hitting with the wind or into a cross wind. By completing each step, you should see that your shots yield better results. As always, follow me on twitter at @zacharypwalsh and subscribe to my blog (click the pull down menu on the upper right corner of the page, then click subscribe) to stay up to date with my latest posts on how the little things add up to make something great.