Friday, April 23, 2010

Playing in the Wind

Wind can certainly be a hazard when playing golf, but it also offers the opportunity to use your shot making skills and strategic thinking to produce more satisfying results. Playing in windy conditions requires patience, well thought out decisions and the ability to hit a variety of shots. As a result experienced players with more proficient ball striking skills have less difficulty playing in extreme wind than novice players. Here are some tips that will help you when playing in the wind.

1. Don't make the mistake when teeing off into a headwind of teeing the ball lower and playing the ball back in your stance. Doing this actually causes more backspin which results in the ball flying higher than normal. Instead position the ball normally at the regular tee height and sweep the club solidly through the ball at ground level.

2. When hitting into a headwind take more club (often 2 or 3 more clubs) and swing easily. You'll make more solid contact and because the ball flies lower it will be less effected by the wind.

3. Players often toss grass into the air to test the wind strength and direction. Generally the wind at ground level is not the same as the altitude you ball is flying. A better choice is to check the tree tops for wind speed and direction and adjust accordingly.

4. When hitting downwind off the tee consider a three wood rather than your driver. The additional height allows the ball to fly farther than the lower trajectory created by your driver.

5. When hitting into a headwind with wedges and short irons it is important to keep the trajectory as low as possible. To do this widen your stance slightly and swing the club in a shallow sweeping motion with minimum wrist hinging. Think of keeping the clubhead as low to the ground as possible in the backswing and follow through.

6. Most players don't realize it but when hitting with a crosswind you need to hit about a half more club than normal.

7. When hitting into a headwind backspin and sidespin are magnified while hitting with a tailwind they are minimized. That is why your ball slices and hooks more when hiting into a headwind and curves less when hitting downwind.

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