Adapting our games to the varying conditions of both course set up and weather conditions is something all players have to do regularly, but have you ever considered how you game stacks up when the wind begins to blow? Without doubt a strong wind can change the characteristics of a golf course enormously so therefore as golfers we should have the capacity to deal with these differences.
How many times have you thrown some grass in the air to determine which way the wind is blowing? This may seem like a good idea and certainly gives you the general direction of the wind, but unless you’re going to hit the ball at your height it can mean very little. Dr Lex Bertrand from Australia is someone who has done some research on wind and how it relates to golf. Here are a few things to think about according to Dr Bertrand, when playing in the wind.
– The higher you hit the golf ball the more wind will affect the flight.
– Wind gusts make it difficult to really predict the wind.
– Wind has a much greater effect on the golf ball when hitting into it than with it.
– Spin rate at impact and launch of the golf ball have a major effect on distance into the wind more so than downwind.
– Rain clouds will have maximum effect on wind strength and direction.
Some of these things may seem obvious enough but when you watch some golfers play they make no difference to their club selection, set-up or swing technique as when they are playing in calm conditions. Whenever the ball is spinning (which is most of the time when it’s in the air), wind has a dramatic effect on the golf ball. Here are a few things to consider, some of them will need to be practised before you bring them to the course.
Try a low spinning ball, they will generally say distance ball on the packaging and they tend to be cheaper.
Into wind especially swing easier. The harder you try and hit the golf ball the more spin you put on it. The more spin the more the wind affects the shot. This does require practice.
Take a wider stance. The wind can move you around and affect your balance. To counteract that, widen your stance. This lowers your centre of gravity and helps to maintain a solid base into the ground. This is extremely important in your putting set-up.
Smooth ¾ swings are always going to be more effective in windy conditions. Here’s another one that needs practice.
In cross winds you can let your ball ride the wind if want the best chance of gaining extra distance although it is also easier to lose control of the ball this way.
Into wind, a hook will always beat the wind easier than a fade or slice.
Appointments with Paul for golf lessons in Wicklow can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.