Playing golf on a windy day can certainly add a challenging element to the sport. There are two types of winds that you may encounter on a golf course: the headwind and the crosswind. The crosswind is the wind blowing across one’s direction of travel, whereas the headwind blows directly in front.
One of the winds golfers fear the most is the headwind as they stand on the tee or fairway with the draft coming straight off the flag and into the golfer’s face. A lot of golfers misunderstand the challenge that wind poses and don’t actually make the correct decisions about playing the shot.
Not to worry, in this article we will discuss a few tips and tricks to help you golf well against strong headwind and crosswind. Let’s take a look.
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How To Play Golf In Headwind
Do you know how to adapt when faced with a golf shot that will fly straight into the wind (headwind)? If you are faced with extreme windy conditions, then you must know how to plan and play your golf shots into a headwind.
First thing you need to consider is the strength of the wind and its direction. You can do this by throwing blades of grass into the air and seeing how they interact with the environment.
If the grass blades fly straight back with some vigor then you know you’ll need to make adjustments in order to be successful with your upcoming shot.
Just be mindful that playing into the wind and adjusting for it takes some experience and trial and error in order to get it right.
The Strength Of The Headwind
Most amateur golfers tend to underestimate the strength of the wind and how it can influence their golf shots. So whereas a breeze may be ignored by golfers these same golfers may wonder why their golf shots didn’t reach their intended target.
Same goes for a strong headwind where golfers may choose to play one longer club where they should have played with a two longer club. Indeed, where a stock distance would warrant an 8-iron on a windless day, don’t feel shy and take a 6-iron when it is very windy instead of the 7-iron you would normally take in those circumstances.
Some winds may even warrant you to club up three or four clubs. Now, while a headwind may change your club selection, don’t let it change how you swing at the ball, i.e., don’t try to hit the ball harder.
Indeed, swinging harder can produce a higher ball flight with more backspin and ultimately a shot that could potentially travel less distance. Remember the old saying, “when it’s breezy, swing easy”.
If you are trying to hit a lower ball in order to see it travel under the wind and lessen the impact the wind can have on the ball, try to position the ball a little back in your stance. So whereas you would position the ball slightly ahead of center with a mid-iron, try to hit the ball from the middle of the stance or even a little further back.
Be mindful to keep your hands forward with the proper shaft lean. The new ball position should reduce the effective loft of your club, sending the ball on a lower trajectory as a result.
How To Play Golf In Crosswind
Golf would be an easier sport if we could aim straight at the target every single time. But because golf is exposed to the elements, specifically the wind, we sometimes need to make adjustments in order for the ball to eventually land on target. It’s important to learn how to hit golf shots when there is a crosswind (side wind) between the ball and the target.
The wind can impact golf shots in two ways. It can change the direction of the ball – left or right – and it can alter the distance the ball will travel. To measure the direction of the wind and its strength before setting up to a golf shot you may want to throw a few blades of grass into the air.
In most cases, golfers should play with the wind instead of playing against the wind when it is coming from one side. That means that if the wind is blowing from left to right then average golfers should try to aim to the left of the target and expect the wind to blow the ball back to the right and on target.
This is in contrast to a scratch golfer or professional golfer who might try and be successful at curving the ball into the crosswind through a fade or a draw, negating its effect on the ball.
The crucial element to remember when you are playing with the wind is that you swing your club normally. Don’t try to modify your swing and the ball flight when you are playing with the wind.
Simply adjust your aim, swing normally, and trust that the wind will guide the ball back onto its target.
Staying Warm In Cold Winds
Whenever there is a lot of wind on the golf course, the temperature usually drops and the time gets cold. Temperature also drops during the colder months of the year as winter approaches.
If you are itching to get an early start on your golf season even though the weather is still cool out, you’ll need to know how to play golf and stay warm when it’s cold outside.
First off you should add on layers of clothing in order to remain warm while being careful not to add too much bulk in the process.
Indeed, if you are using a big puffy jacket to stay warm but can’t move or swing freely with it on then there is no point in going out to play golf really. Favour a base layer that is skin tight and add on tight fitting layers on top. Yes, the top layers can be made of heavier fabric but should still allow you to swing with ease.
While warming up your golf swing is always a good idea before heading towards the first tee it is that much more important when it is cold out.
Whereas you would normally warm up by hitting shots to activate your muscles and get your timing right, when it is cold out hitting practice shots will help in actually warming up your body. Therefore, be sure to arrive early for your tee time to allow for a good warmup.
Also, be mindful and watch for delays in your rounds that could take the form of slow groups ahead or even hazards. Fight the urge to remain seated in your cart while you wait for the course to open up in front of you.
Staying seated for an extended period of time, on a number of occasions, will keep you from staying loose and warm. After a longer break, make sure to take one practice swing and perhaps two.
As you head towards the end of the round, your mind might already be looking forward to a hot cup of soup inside the clubhouse. But don’t fall victim to checking out mentally before the round is indeed over.
Carefully go through your setup and pre-shot routine and make sure to perform complete swings. This is in contrast to quickly stepping up to the ball and swinging without much conviction, hoping that the round will end faster.