Playing in the Wind

Playing in the Wind

Hitting into a head wind or a tailwind can be very problematical for all golfers. The main problem is attempting to predict the effect it will have on the ball. What we do know is the initial launch angle of a shot is not really affected by the wind but as the ball continues in its flight it will then be influenced by the lift and drag forces (the “Magnus Effect” for those of you who remember your science). In other words playing into wind, assuming the balls spin is straight, the ball will up shoot leading to shorter distance travelled in the air. This will also mean the ball will roll less distance because it is landing from a steeper angle. If the ball is spinning on a slanted axis (commonly called side-spin) this will then be exaggerated and so the ball will curve more. Quite often the response a golfer may have to hitting into a strong wind is they then try to hit the ball harder, unfortunately this will exaggerate the up-shoot even more and therefore lead to less distance.

Tips for hitting into wind

  • Take at least one if not two clubs more; lower lofted clubs will impart less backspin and therefore reduce the effect of the up-shoot.
  • Put a little more weight on to your front foot in your set-up about 60% – 65% and make sure you do not have too much transfer of weight over onto your back foot in your backswing.
  • I would certainly recommend you play the ball a little further back in your stance but I would not move it back much more than middle. Although a further back ball position means you have a steeper angle of attack but if exaggerated can affect other things like you swing path which will impact on how much the ball may curve. If you adhere to the first two points then you will not need to move the ball back too much.
  • It always helps if you make a slightly shorter swing than normal. Here is the important one, try to swing smooth and easy. This will help to keep that spin off the ball and allow your shots to fly lower which in turn will give you back the distance the ball will travel.

Like any other shot in golf it takes a little bit of practice, but it is certainly worth it when those windy days appear.


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