Sure it’s nice to head out to the golf course on a beautifully tranquil day where it’s easy figure your yardages and be confident in your club selection. Unfortunately, however, Mother Nature isn’t always so accommodating and you’ll find yourself having to deal with a bit of wind.
When you’re up against a windy day on the golf course, if you let it affect your attitude, you’re going to be in for a long day. Many players do and are. You, however, should not let this happen. First of all it does your golf game no good, and secondly, if your playing partners bowing to the wind, then all the better for you to collect on the nassau.
The basic golf shot that enters the conversation when talking about playing in the wind is the knockdown shot.
There are a couple of basic keys to the knockdown shot.
The first is that the hands have to remain ahead of the clubhead through the swing. So at your address, move the ball slightly further back in your stance. The knockdown golf shot is not a ‘full swing’ type of shot. It is a control shot. In fact, with knockdown shots you’ll want your finish position to be lower and not fully completed.
The second key is based upon the first.
Since the knockdown shot is not a full swing you’ll want to take and extra club or two in order to (a) take the loft off of what would be your normal shot and (b) get the distance you want with a lower ball flight and easier non-full swing.
The tailwind – Playing a hole with a good tailwind is a favorite scenario for many. Keep in mind however, when it comes to playing in the wind… control is the key word.
A tailwind certainly adds distance and carry to your golf shots, and will help keep your shots straighter, but remember it also adds roll. And if we’re talking about an approach shot into the green, the tailwind is going to take the backspin off of your shot and subsequently your ball won’t check nearly as tidy when it hits the green. So, factor in not only the distance, but roll as well.
The headwind – now you’ve made 180 and you’re heading back into the same wind that was just at your back. Now is when the knockdown becomes your friend and ally. Remember, play the ball back in your stance (keeping your hands ahead of the clubhead), take more club, and swing easy and under control.
The crosswind – the crosswind or the quartering wind is the most difficult to deal with. This type of wind will magnify the spin and shape of your shot. If your flight is shaping the same direction, think distance and roll but, if you’re going to shape your shot back into the crosswind add extra yardage to your calculation.
Given these two mirroring results, you can see that a crosswind can produce greatly varying distance. Because of this great variance, you’ll want a strategy that takes advantage of the wind.
If your distance is open ended you’ll probably want to shape your golf shot to work with the wind and get the most distance you can. If, however, you’re hitting your approach to the green, you’ll want to shape your shot back into the crosswind so your ball will land softer on the putting surface.
In summary, the key to wind play is control.
Remember, a solidly struck golf ball will be less affected by any wind as opposed to one that takes flight with a side spin.
Be confident when playing in the wind, ratchet your swing back a couple of notches and think about a nice smooth rhythm with solid contact.