How To Prepare For Wind

By Sandy Retsky

The difficulty of making shots (full swing, pitching, chipping, putting) increases as the wind increases. The wind has direction, speed and type (steady, gusty, swirling). These characteristics vary with the height above ground and can change quickly. Your golf ball flight will be affected by any wind. Your swing will be affected by a strong wind. On a positive side, the wind can eliminate bugs and cool off a hot day. Your goal is to prepare for the wind.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Determine the current wind (direction, speed, type). For ground level, toss some grass into the air and watch it move. For higher levels, look at the tops of trees around the fairway up to your target, and watch the branches move. If you see one direction, speed and type, you know what the current wind is. If you cannot determine the current wind, make a best guess, and play a safer shot (maybe play short of the green, where there are no traps).
Step 2
Choose your wind club. The higher the ball flight (which increases with backspin), the more the wind affects your shot. Start with the club for your normal shot without the wind, then adjust to the current wind. Be careful the wind doesn't bring a hazard into play.

For a crosswind: A crosswind accentuates a leeward slice or hook. Hit either a normal straight shot that is aimed to the windward side or a normal shot that starts straight and curves in the windward direction; let the wind move the ball back to straight. For a headwind: Hit more club (creates lower ball flight, which minimizes effects of headwind) for the normal distance. For a tailwind: Hit either your normal club (creates higher ball flight, which uses effects of tailwind and adds roll) for more distance, or less club (creates higher ball flight, which maximizes effects of tailwind) for normal distance.
Step 3
Check your body setup. Place your feet your normal width apart; for a strong wind, place your feet about 2 to 3 inches wider than normal width apart to be more stable. For lower ball flight: Position your ball slightly back of normal in your stance. Your weight forward on your feet. For higher ball flight (with tailwind): Use your normal setup.
Step 4
Check your club setup. The back of your front hand and your clubface should be square to the starting shot path. For lower ball flight: Your hands should be slightly ahead of the clubhead at setup and impact. Choke up slightly on your grip. For higher ball flight (with tailwind): Use your normal setup.
Step 5
Check your mental setup. Visualize "the shot path." Believe "I will make this shot."
Step 6
Check your swing. Wait for any wind gusts to pass. You must commit to a wind shot; doubt is not good for a swing. For tee shots: If you want a lower shot, tee the ball lower by up to ½ inch. For full shots, pitch shots and chip shots: For lower ball flight: Shorten your back swing and follow through; swing slower than normal (decreases backspin); downswing is steeper than normal with minimal wrist action. For higher ball flight (with tailwind): Swing normally, and use the wind. For putts: Even though putts are not airborne, include the current wind in the read of your putt (especially on short grass and firm greens). If the ball moves after you address it, there is a one-stroke penalty. (This happened to Padraig Harrington in the 2009 Masters.)

Tips & Warnings

You determine how much the wind affects your shot through practice. Unfortunately, wind conditions are difficult to simulate.

About The Author

Sandy Retsky caddied at Baltusrol in Springfield, NJ and owned a software consulting business in New York, NY. He is a partner at Reverie Winery in Napa Valley and Butterfly restaurant in San Francisco. He has been writing for golflink.com since early 2009.

Subscribe Today

Get our best training tips, videos, and tee times deals -- straight to your inbox

Tee Times Deals to your inbox
Join our mailing list today!

ACTIVITY FEED

Jon K. joined GolfLink

Richard M.  just went PRO!

John V.  Scored 95 at  Tiger Point, East Gulf Breeze, Florida

Everett H. joined GolfLink
Lance B. joined GolfLink

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
Swing Basics: Distance From Ball Watch Video>>

Related Articles

Article Image Pro Golfer's Secrets: Brooke Henderson

  photo courtesy LPGA Tour Brooke Henderson is a Canadian ...

Article Image Pro Golfer's Secrets: Sergio Garcia

photo credit: Sergio Garcia Official Website Sergio Garcia is a Sp...

Article Image Pro Golfer's Secrets: Bubba Watson

photo credit Augusta National Golf Club Gerry Lester Watson Jr.,...

Article Image Pro Golfer's Secrets: Tommy Fleetwood

photo courtesy Tommy Fleetwood Official Website Tommy Fleetwood ...

Article Image Pro Golfer's Secrets: Jordan Spieth

Dallas native Jordan Spieth, born in 1993, is one of the the best golfe...

View All Related Articles