How to Hit a Driver in the Wind

By Les Miller

golfer hitting with sunset background
A major key to improving your golf game is the ability to control the trajectory of your ball flight. This starts by having the ability to create shots that are effective in all playing conditions. Many golfers experience trouble hitting their driver when playing in windy conditions. The good news is you can master the drive into the wind by improving your technique.

How to Hit Driver Into the Wind

Difficulty: Moderate

  1. Drive the ball into the wind with a smooth, solid swing. Swinging too hard will create an excess of backspin, which will cause the ball to balloon up into the air. This results in a loss of distance and control on your tee shots. The key is to swing a little slower.
  2. Stay on balance during your swing when playing in windy conditions. Widening your stance will stabilize your base, which will help you maintain your balance during the entire swing. This stabilizing effect will lead to solid contact, resulting in longer, straighter drives.
  3. Swing with a downward strike on the ball, as you would do when hitting an iron shot. Start by positioning the ball back in your stance, 2 to 3 inches from your front foot. Next, address the ball with 65 to 70 percent of your weight forward. These changes in your setup position will naturally place your hands slightly ahead of the ball upon impact, which effectively will reduce the loft of your club face during the shot.
  4. Create a lower ball flight by choking down on the grip by 1 or 2 inches, then moving slightly closer to the ball at address. These two changes will help shorten and smooth out your swing, which will provide solid contact for increased power.
  5. Finish in the proper position for a low-flying ball flight that is ideal for hitting into the wind. The finish position should end no higher than waist-high, much the same as when you are hitting a punched iron shot. This abbreviated finish will keep your ball flight low and help you to hit the ball solidly. Practice this and see how often those low-flying drives start splitting the fairway, especially when you're hitting into the wind.

How to Hit Driver with the Wind Behind You

Difficulty: Easy

  1. Tee the ball up high. A normal golf tee is 3/4 inch tall. Extra large tees are 1 1/2 inches tall. By teeing the ball up high, the ball will get up into the air quicker and travel further.
  2. Square yourself to the ball. Your left shoulder is facing directly at the target and your left foot should be directly underneath the left shoulder. This will square you to the target.
  3. Play the ball about two ball lengths closer to your front leg than your back leg. This will enable you to catch the ball on the upswing and get the ball up in the air. Because the wind is blowing directly behind you, you should get extra distance on your drive.
  4. Turn your left foot slightly toward the target before you begin your backswing. You are not necessarily going to swing harder because you have the wind at your back, but you are going to get everything out of your hip and shoulder turn that you can. Turning your front foot to the target will help you turn.
  5. Come through the ball with your hip turn as quickly as you can. You are not swinging harder, but you are making sure your hip turn has more purpose and that your shoulders and arms will follow. By staying down on the ball and not picking up your head, you will get maximum distance on your shot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold the club firmly, but do not squeeze it tight. You want a full hip turn and shoulder turn. Squeezing the club too tightly will prevent you from getting the turn you want.


About the Author

Based in Southern California, Les Miller has been a freelance correspondent writing golf-related articles for more than 20 years. His articles have appeared in the "World Golf Wire," "Dicks Sporting Goods" magazine and Better A former PGA golf professional, Miller formerly worked for several major golf companies as the vice president of sales and marketing and the director of research and development.