How to Play Golf in the Wind

Learn How to Play Golf in the Wind

The greatest challenge a golfer must face is the intensity and unpredictability of playing golf in the wind. PGA Tour players can post good scores in the heat, in the rain, and even in the cold, but nothing drives up their scores faster than a very windy day. The best tour players know how to play great golf in the wind. Some players grew up in West Texas where they had to contend with the wind virtually every day, so their normal swing results in a low trajectory shot. Others have developed a punch shot that tends to penetrate the wind, almost effortlessly. Don’t let golfing in the wind ruin your day or completely mess up your score. Here are some tips for playing golf in the wind:

  1. Mental Preparation:  Realize that all golfers will have a tough time on the course that day and adjust your expectations accordingly. Don’t get down on yourself if you have a few bad holes early in your round. Don’t press either. You and everybody else in the field will need to save strokes around the green, especially on holes that play into the wind.

  2. Understand how wind will affect your golf shot:  Know which direction the wind is blowing and compensate for the wind as you plan your shot. Aim farther left or right, or take more or less club to adjust for the wind.  A rule of thumb is that every 10mph of wind will add one club to your approach. The higher you hit the ball, the more your shot will be affected. For example, a 30mph wind will typically create a 4-club adjustment (or more). Be prepared.

  3. Learn an alternative shot with a low trajectory:  a) practice a punch shot with an abbreviated follow-through or b) ask your pro to help you lower the trajectory of your regular swing. Either one will help and on those into the wind holes (or when there is a crosswind), you can control your ball flight more effectively.

  4. Focus on leaving yourself an uphill putt or chip:  try not to short side yourself. You will miss more greens than usual in the wind, so you will need to try to plan ahead by leaving the easiest chip shots possible given the green structures. Lower your stress and become a better wind golfer by utilizing good course management to help you beat the field and lower your scores.

  5. Practice your short putts on the putting green on windy days:  this will give you a mental edge as you approach the tricky 3-to-6 footers when the wind is trying to knock you over.

You should consult with your local PGA professional to learn how to play better golf in the wind. They can help you learn how the wind affects golf shots and get you started on your way to playing great on windy days.