How To Golf In The Wind

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Playing in a Cross Wind

Playing golf with absolutely no wind is rare. Most of the time when we play we have to battle the wind and playing in a cross wind can be very difficult. Riding the wind and Working the ball back into the wind are very common phrases. But what do they mean? When you are going to ride the wind, it means the wind is blowing from right to left and you're going to hit a right to left shot and let the wind push your ball. An example of working the ball back into the wind is hitting a shot that curves from left to right in a right to left wind. Working the ball back into the wind is essentially fighting the wind. The ball goes much shorter when you do this. When the wind is strong and blowing sideways it makes the shot more difficult and takes an understanding of how the ball will react when both riding the wind and working the ball against the wind.

Riding The Wind

Riding the wind is ideal for tee shots. It will maximize your distance. It is also a very useful strategy when you need to add some distance for an approach shot that is in between clubs. Be sure to understand these fundamentals when riding the wind:

  • Ball Travels Farther
  • Curves A Lot
  • Harder to Stop

The ball travels much farther when you ride the wind. Riding the wind essentially makes the ball go as far as it would straight downwind. It's important to adjust how far each club goes. It can be anywhere from 1/2 club to 3 clubs depending on how strong the wind is.

The ball will curve more both in the air and on the ground after it lands. Be sure to adjust your aim and play for the ball to continue moving left or right when it bounces.

It's harder to stop the ball when you ride the wind. The side spin and initial bounce forward will make the ball travel farther. This especially makes it more difficult to stop the ball quickly on the green. Make sure when riding the wind you pick a landing spot 5 to 10 yards short of the pin allowing your ball to bounce and roll out.

Be sure to take a nice full swing when riding the wind. It is important to put the maximum amount of spin on the ball to allow it to stay in the air.

Working The Ball Back Into the Wind

When the winds are strong and you ride the wind, many times it is virtually impossible to get the ball to stop. If this is the case, you will need to work the ball back in the wind to get it to stop. Working the ball against the wind is ideal for approach shots that you want to stop quickly. It is not recommended for tee shots. The result will be a very short tee shot leaving you with a longer approach. If you can avoid working the ball into the wind off the tee, do it. But if your natural shot is a cut and the wind is right to left, don't worry just aim straight and let the wind hold your ball straight. Working the ball into the wind is ideal for approach shots into the green because:

  • The ball stops faster
  • The curve is less
  • Goes shorter

Ball stops on a dime - Working the ball from left to right into a right to left wind will create a lot of backspin. The result is your ball stopping very quickly on the green.

Less Curve - The wind and the curve of your ball are fighting against each other in this situation. The result is that they cancel each other out and produce a relatively straight shot. To actually make the ball move to the right in a wind that is right to left is very difficult. You would have to really slice the ball and create the amount of side spin necessary to accomplish this.

Your ball goes shorter - The curve and the wind kill your ball which makes it go much shorter. It typically goes 1-2 clubs less depending on how severe the wind is. When you are faced with 150 yards with a right to left wind and you typically play a fade you will need to take your 160 yard club and take a 3/4 swing.

Make sure you don't overaim when trying to curve the ball back into the wind. For example, most people aim left of the target when attempting to hit a fade. But in a right to left wind, the result is almost always a shot that ends up left of the target because the wind doesn't let the ball curve to the right. It holds the ball straight. Instead, aim directly at your target and try to get your ball to curve into the wind. In this example, it will feel like you're actually trying to miss right of your target. But the result will be a straight ball that is right on the money.