Ten of the Best: Golf in the wind tips

How much does a golf ball affect the flight of the ball?


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MODERN golf balls are made to be less affected by the wind than their traditional 'ancestors' but they are still liable to give you grief. Changing the loft of your club, the positioning of your hands on the grip and where the ball is in your stance are all important elements of playing in the wind.

Most people have their own way to tackle the elements, including the Tour pros. One of the greatest wind players Johnnie Miller once said his secret for driving into the wind was to "Strike down on the ball and impart spin which can really effect the ball through the air. My best tip is to tee it high and hit it solid."

Until you know what to do and at what time it's always going to be a tricky task playing in the the wind, so check out our top five tips and top five facts you need to know to make it that little bit easier.

Top tips for playing golf in the wind

1. Playing a shot into the wind, demands taking 'more club' (one with less loft), while playing with the wind, requires you must hit less club (more loft).

Off the tee you can either opt for Tiger's low stinger shot, if you're feeling confident, or just hit a nice firm driver, which will create top spin on the ball and cut through the wind.

2. The trick is to de-loft the club - ball back in the stance hands a little forward - to keep the ball low and reduce the wind's effects.

Craig Hanson shows us in his tutorial video that using this technique is essential for controlling your ball flight while playing in the wind.

3. It's a good idea to keep an eye on the tree tops while you are playing this kind of golf hole to give you a better idea of conditions as your ball loses its momentum at the top of its trajectory.

4. If you want the ball to land softly, try to curve or fade the ball into a right to left crosswind. If you want more distance, ride the wind by curving it in the same direction as the crosswind.

5. Most important in any windy situation is to grip down a touch for better control and hit the ball solidly. A well-struck ball will be much less affected than a miss-hit shot with side spin.

Greg Norman had his own saying "in the breeze swing with ease." The legendary Australian knows what he's talking about so give it a go in practice, focusing on connecting with the ball rather than power.

Top facts you need to know about playing golf in the wind

6. While golfers are usually able to make a rough measurement of the speed of the wind at ground level - usually sprinkling blades of grass at eye level - they don't always realise that the speed of the wind varies with height above the ground.

7. For a 250 yard drive, for example, a 10 mph the tail wind will usually increase distance (as opposed to a still day) by about nine yards but a 10 mph headwind will hurt by 13 yards with a normal trajectory.

Even if you're facing a 10mph headwind you can still drive it 250 yards if you know how, so check out our golf's toughest shots instructional guide to driving into the wind for more help.

8. Wind turbulence at 50 to 100 feet can also be a factor, and difficult to quantify when playing a spinning short iron. There might be a head wind when you launch the ball, but when the ball reaches its peak three to five seconds later, it may experience a tailwind.

9. Playing a crosswind is the most condition a golfer faces - it will magnify any spin on the ball and greatly reduce distance - especially if you're one of the 85 per-cent of golfers who slice the ball.

10. Professional golfers get higher scores when wind speeds are higher so when you're out on the course remember that it's almost inevitable you wont be hitting a great score.

First published May 2007. Updated September 2013.

Want anymore tips on playing golf in the wind? Check out our guides to...

Ball position in the wind
Punching into the wind
How to play in the wind top five tips

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We've all hit the ball wildly in the wind and sometimes it has come off but more often the ball has veered away into deep rough or worse. It's to won up to your windswept triumphs and distasters on the golf course. ED

Posted: 29/05/2007 at 14:49

Why can't we go out on a windy day and put out 'sensible hat' on?
We always try and hit harder against the wind and 4 out of 5 shots will be a disaster (at my level anyway).

The advice as Greg Norman puts it ... "In the breeze, swing with ease" ... makes so much sense. I might just write that on my golf bag for future reference.

Posted: 29/05/2007 at 16:55

Dont know if this is the same with everyone but wind seems to increase the effects of spin on the ball. If I slice or hook the ball it always seems to go out of control far more than it would in normal conditions. Fortunately I'm not prone to slicing the ball much in practice (except with the driver) and I find that if I hit clean and straight wind has a lot less effect than I expect.

My biggest issue is calculating the lost or gained distance of a head / tail wind, especially with short irons or lobbed wedges.

Posted: 29/05/2007 at 19:33

Unfortunately, Greg Norman's "easy swing" is still probably 20mph faster than your best swing speed... :)

Posted: 30/05/2007 at 01:11

The 2 that stick in my mind......

Very very strong wind right to left, par 3. 4 ball of ladies letting us play through. 6i, started it out a good 40yards+ to the right to lots of mutterings to where's he aiming. Wind brings it round lands 1ft from the hole to a round of applause from the ladies. Walked up tapped the put and missed. Complete histerics including from me....

6th hole 440yd par 4 straight into the wind OB right. Aimed left a little stay clear of the out of bounds. Smooth swing felt like I middled it, couldn't see it, playing partner told me to look up, it was just starting to come down, managed to sky it all the way fromt the white tees to the yellow tees, single highest shot I have seen with any club. My mates now refer to my 60 degree driver.....

Posted: 30/05/2007 at 07:53

If the wind is strong enough to deviate the course of my ball either from the left or right, and into my face. I will 'tee it low and let it flow'(R)

The harder you try and hit it, the more unwanted spin you are likely to put on the ball.
If I could fade and draw at will to hold it against the wind, that would probably be better.

Posted: 30/05/2007 at 10:17

75% swing and at ease but make sure you follow through. Hit it hard and you will end up in trouble.

Par 3's grip down and take 2 or even 3 clubs more

Posted: 30/05/2007 at 13:19


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