Growing up in Warrnambool in Victoria, you had to learn how to play in the wind. In fact, you had to learn to enjoy playing in the wind because there is rarely a day when it isn’t blowing a gale at Warrnambool Golf Club.
There is no secret science to playing wind golf. It is just a skill that, over time, you develop and become comfortable with adjusting your game to suit it.
There are three things I feel you must have if you want to play decent golf when it’s breezy. If you’re struggling with the technique required for these shots, seek a lesson from your local PGA professional and you’ll start to find them a breeze.
Playing in the wind is all about feel, and a lot of it is judgement. I’ve acquired both, but that’s because I’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours practising on the range. Feel comes from practising the proper ball position and stance required for normal shots, and then playing around with having the ball a little farther back in your stance, or hitting punch shots and cut-down shots. The feel for these shots takes time, so be prepared to spend it on the range getting comfortable with those swings.
2. Play into the wind
I like to work the ball into the wind. Never let it ride the wind, because I feel you can lose control of the ball doing that. I guess it’s easier to trust and commit to the shot when you fire it into the wind, because you can control your ball when it hits the ground and that is the most unpredictable aspect of windy golf. Yes, you can hit the ball farther if you let the ball ride the wind, but it can easily get away from you and quickly lead to bad scores.
3. Ball flight
You have to have the ball flight and trajectory that can actually be controlled in windy conditions. Get a lesson from your local PGA pro and work on developing a solid trajectory that isn’t too high or too low. Too high and the wind will have too much influence over your ball; too low and the wind won’t affect it as much – that will make judging the wind very difficult. Once you groove a trajectory that’s in between, you’ll find it easier to hit knockdown shots and adjusting for the wind will require only minor changes, making it easier for you to enjoy playing in the wind.
– written with Evin Priest