Toughest Golf Shots: driving into the wind

No-one relishes playing into the wind. We ask: should you change your swing or is there a better way? Come and find out.

Ed Greenland's picture
Wed, 5 Jun 2013

The driving into the wind shot is our first driving article in the Golf's Toughest Drives series and is part of the how to play links golf series.

Wind is the single most inlfuential weather condition when playing golf, especially if you're trying to boom one down the fairway with a 3 wood or driver.

There have been a variety of coaches who believe radical changes to your swing need to be made to win the fight off the tee, but is that really the case?

We've spoken to pros and researched coaching manuals to produce this comprehensive guide to driving into the wind. There are two opposing schools of thought, shown below:

 1. Keep it the same (for high handicappers)

The traditional way to hit into the wind is to tee the ball lower, keep your weight 50/50, and swing easy when it's breezy. However, PGA coach CJ Goecks suggests these classic rules should be scrapped.

Goecks says you shouldn't follow these rules and here's why:

Tee the ball low: this will mean hitting the bottom of the clubface, increasing the spin, and in turn allowing the wind to take hold of your ball.

Keep your weight 50/50: this produces a lower launch but increases spin.

Swing easy: you don’t practice this shot enough and it closely resembles a non-committed swing.

"The great thing with driver designs today is that they are designed to increase the launch and reduce the spin of the ball" Goecks says. "To hit the ball farther into the wind, my suggestion is to do everything normally."

 2. Change your swing (for low handicappers)

The 14-time major winner Tiger Woods has won The Open Championship three times and he's used his infamous Tiger's Stinger to great effect. His stinger shot counters the wind like no other and this is how he does it:

- Put the ball a few inches back in your stance
- Bring hands slightly forward
- Choke down on the grip a few inches
- Firm up wrists
- Make sure your arms and shaft are in a "y" shape

PGA coach Rick Shiels says: "Swing 4/5 on the way back and 4/5 on the way through, that's going to minimise the temptation of hitting the golf ball really hard."

Want anymore tips? Check out our Golf's Toughest Drives index or the overall Golf's Toughest Shots index.