How to Play Golf in the Wind – Control Your Shots
Golfing is hard by default, add a bit of wind to it and it becomes next-level hard. Now, you are probably aware, like I am, that we’ll hardly get to the pro level of playing in windy conditions. That does not mean you can’t learn how to play golf in the wind to improve your skill set. It is challenging but doable.
Some have the fortune to golf in mild weather conditions which do not include too much wind. For the rest, there are things you will want to know.
Having different shots in your bag that can help you control what your ball does is beneficial in any case. The better you get, the fewer things will be able to surprise you on the course.
Weather affects golfing all the time. Every change in temperature, seasons, and current conditions, as slight as some dew on the grass, can make a big difference. The wind is one of the most extreme conditions because of its unpredictability. You won’t be able to entirely predict how your ball is going to act when it is windy, but you can do a lot to gain more control over your shots.
Keep It Low
This is probably the most important thing when it comes to playing in windy conditions. Whatever you do try to keep your ball flight low. When you think about it, it makes sense. The higher your ball flight, the more vulnerability your ball faces. It means you have to forget about your regular round when you can fly the ball high.
Your ball will be exposed to winds less if you keep it closer to the ground. That does not mean you should barely get it off the ground. It means the ball flight should be more penetrating at a height lower than the usual one. That usually translates to less spin which will help the ball hold the trajectory.
This is especially the case on shots from a longer distance. The wind will not affect ball flights from short distances as much. If you golf in extremely windy conditions, that might affect all shots including putts. Next time you go to the range try to hit some lower-flight shots, it will be worth it next time the wind decides to show up at the course.
Mind the Wind Direction
The wind direction is the most important thing to pay attention to when it comes to aiming. For example, if the wind is coming from the left side it will be pushing the ball to the right side. In other words, you will have to aim toward the left side of the fairway to land the ball in the middle of it.
How much you will have to shift your aim will depend on the wind strength. Sometimes the surroundings will shelter your ball if you keep it low. In other cases, if you are playing a links-type course with no trees around, your ball will be affected even if flying lower. At best you will have to adjust as the round goes on to see how much tweaking is needed.
Club Up and Club Down Accordingly
As much as you would think this comes automatically, a lot of recreational golfers on occasion choose the wrong clubs for shots. More often they go with a shorter club, especially when between distances. I don’t have to mention that can lead to extra strokes that could be avoided. If you’re asking yourself what that has to do with wind, I’ll tell you that next.
The wind is a force of nature that can make the ball go shorter or longer. It is as simple as that. You can see that particularly if you watch a tournament that is held by an ocean or sea. What you have to do in that situation is consider that wind for your club choice. If you don’t, your ball will go either too short or too long. Neither is great.
That is especially the case with approach shots and shots on par 3 holes. I know sometimes it is hard to predict at what point the wind will show up and there is nothing you can do there. Nonetheless, in other situations make sure you choose the appropriate club. For winds blowing toward you, chose one or more club numbers depending on wind strength. In the same way, make sure you choose a lesser club when you are hitting the ball down the wind because it will carry that ball further than you think.
Watch for Signs
By sings, I do not mean writings on the wall or any supernatural signs on the course. I simply mean you should observe the nature around the fairway or the green to read the wind strength and direction. Here you do not need any special skills, just some observation before you decide to hit your golf ball.
There are water hazards on a lot of courses out there. Use that water to your advantage. See if it is still or if it is moving and what direction the little waves are going toward. In the same way, you can have a look at the tops of the trees around the hole you are playing. Check which way the branches are bending and at what intensity.
Checking trees can be useful because you have to remember that your ball is traveling through the air. Once you develop that habit it will help you make shot decisions.
Steady Wind or Gusts
When it comes to golfing there is almost nothing as unpredictable as the wind. Nobody enjoys golfing in the wind, nobody. The reality is, a lot of golfers can’t avoid it if they want to golf at all. However, wind can sometimes be less bad. That is the case when it is blowing steadily. In that situation, you will be able to make better adjustments which you can apply to every shot.
It is when you are dealing with gusts of wind and changing wind directions that it becomes more challenging. When that happens you will have to pay attention to everything at every single hole. It is a constant readjustment. Before shots take a few moments to assess the situation, don’t rush it. Only when you take everything into account make your shot.
Practice and Play
It is very hard to practice golf in conditions that do not come often. The wind is one of those conditions. Unless you are in an area where your driving range is exposed to wind, it is hard to simulate those shots. Your best bet will be to go out and learn how to deal with it with experience. One step at a time.
The truth is, no practice will prepare you for all the situations you find yourself in on a golf course. For that reason golfing as often as possible can benefit your game more. In the end, no matter what the conditions are, always remember to enjoy your time on the course.
You may also like: