Golf Lessons: Three Hints to Help You Improve Your Wind Game

Playing golf in the wind can significantly add to the challenge of an already challenging game. Factoring in the prevailing wind conditions is essential to club selection and determining the type of shot you want to hit. It's also critical to helping you avoid trouble. Many golfers whose shots end up in a bunker, over the green, in the water or through the fairway into the deep rough, forgot or underestimated how the wind would affect their shot. Learning how the wind affects your ball in flight can help you actually use the wind to your advantage, especially if you know how to shape shots. Here's some advice to help you overcome the three types of windy conditions you're most likely to face out on the golf course.

Keep the ball low into the wind

When hitting a shot into the wind, you want to keep the ball low with as penetrating a trajectory as possible. Choose a club with less loft than you would normally use for the distance, play the ball back farther in your stance and swing easier than normal. The natural tendency is to swing harder into the wind to try to overcome its effect on distance. But swinging harder can actually work against you in a headwind. A harder swing produces more backspin which can cause the ball to balloon in a headwind. The ball climbs then just drops suddenly, causing unfortunate distance loss. Keeping the ball low will also allow it to roll out after it hits, making up for some of the distance lost in the air into the wind.

Take less club downwind

When hitting a shot with the wind, the ball will carry farther than normal. Choose less club and let the ball ride the wind. Off the tee with your driver, tee the ball up higher to give you a higher-trajectory shot and maximize your distance. On dogleg holes consider hitting your three wood off the tee if there's a danger of hitting the ball through the fairway downwind.

Adjust your aim in a crosswind

Failing to allow for a crosswind can carry a shot that starts at the flag all the way off the green, if it's strong enough. In a crosswind, you should adjust your aim toward the direction the wind is coming from. Allow ten yards for every ten miles-per-hour of wind. Of course, that's just a guideline, you'll find out how much you need to allow for your natural shot with some practice.