How to Drive the Ball into the Wind

By Steve Silverman

Strong winds are the enemy of nearly every golfer. Golf is a challenging game on the most beautiful days. But when the skies are threatening and the wind is blowing, even the best low-handicap golfers face a severe challenge. When the wind is in the golfer's face off the tee, it is especially burdensome because the strong gusts can knock down even the best drives.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Prepare psychologically for playing in the wind. Realize many of the shots you face--especially your tee shots into the wind--are going to be difficult and you are not going to set any records for distance. Change your expectations and take some of the pressure off yourself as you prepare for your round.
Step 2
Try to play the ball low so you can cut through the ball. Normally, you will want to tee the ball up high when you drive it, and an extra large tee is the recommendation. But instead of teeing up the ball 1 1/2 inches, use a normal 3/4-inch tee and push it down so it is only 1/2 inch above the ground.
Step 3
Address the ball properly. You will want to have your left shoulder square to the target. Your left foot should be directly under your left shoulder. Don't open your shoulders to get a better view of where you want your ball to go. Squaring yourself to the target gives you the best chance of hitting a solid tee shot under all circumstances, but especially when hitting into the wind.
Step 4
Play the ball midway between your left foot and your right foot. On a less windy day, you would play the ball at least one ball length closer to your left (front) foot. But when you are hitting into the wind, playing it closer to the front foot would tend to get the ball higher in the air--and that's what you want to avoid.
Step 5
Take your normal swing and do not try to "kill" the ball. The tendency for most golfers when they are hitting into the wind is they have to swing harder to compensate for the heavy winds they must overcome. A hard swing under these circumstances will almost always result in a poor shot. Concentrate on the fundamentals--hand position, hip turn and shoulder turn--and make a conscious effort not to hit the ball any harder than you normally do when hitting into the wind.

Tips & Warnings

Change your goals for distance and scoring when playing into a strong wind. Take the pressure off yourself and you will enjoy the game.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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