Play Golf in the Wind

HiltonBillWhitakerBy Bill Whitaker, Director of Golf Instruction, Hilton Golf Academy, Hilton Myrtle Beach & Kingston Plantation

Playing golf in the wind is very difficult for the average player. Understanding how to play various types of shots can help keep your scores down. The first thing you will do is learn how to play the “knockdown” shot.

A) Take one more club than you normally would for the given distance.
B) Play the ball back in your stance, just behind center.
C) Take an abbreviated back swing and make sure to keep your hands well ahead of the club head through impact which will help to flight the ball down.
D) Finish your swing low making sure you don’t fully release your hands and wrists.

Again, the objective is to flight the ball down with a lower trajectory than normal keeping the ball under the wind. The abbreviated back swing and finish reduces your club head speed which imparts less backspin on the ball and keeps the shot from “ballooning” into the wind. Obviously this is the go-to shot when playing into a headwind.

Playing in a tailwind can be fun because of the extra distance you gain. Also, tailwinds will make your miss-hit shots travel straighter. You can control your distance better by moving the ball back in your stance and lowering your trajectory, but remember to plan on your ball rolling farther.  If it’s additional carry and distance you’re looking for, play the ball forward and let the ball “ride the wind”.

Playing golf in a crosswind is arguably the hardest wind condition of all. A crosswind will magnify any existing spin and reduce distance dramatically.  However, if you are able to curve your ball one way or the other intentionally you can use these winds to your advantage.  If you would like your shot to land softly such as on approach shots try curving your ball into a crosswind.  If you would like to use the crosswind to achieve more distance try curving your shot in the same direction the wind is blowing.  In either case try keep the ball as low as possible.

It has been said many times “WHEN IT’S BREEZY, SWING EASY”. The reason for this is to help to ensure solid ball striking. The wind will affect a golf ball that has been well struck a lot less than a miss-hit shot.

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