Playing in a strong wind is a fact of life for most golfers who hit the links in the sometimes iffy-weather of spring. Once those wind gusts get above 15- to 20-miles per hour, they’re strong enough to have a noticeable effect on a ball in flight.
So what to do? If you don’t have a lot of experience playing on “Windsday,” or you want a refresher on some of the finer points of hitting irons into the green on a windy day, take a look at these videos you can find on YouTube.
1. Phil Mickelson Talks Spin
The first video is from a master of all elements, PGA Hall-of-Famer Phil Mickelson.
In this barely one-minute video, Mickelson says the key to playing the shot into the wind is to take more club and less backswing.
“When we don’t go back as far, we don’t have as much time to create speed which creates spin,” Mickelson says. “I take a little extra club, same ball position, same swing just shorter backswing and then I accelerate into the finish. The ball will not reach the same apex that a full shot will, nor will it have the same amount of spin.”
“I take a little extra club, same ball position, same swing just shorter backswing and then I accelerate into the finish.”
2. Clay Ballard Talks About Extra Club
Top Speed Golf’s Clay Ballard agrees the keys to effective wind shots are to keep the ball low and reduce the amount of spin. During his four-minute video on playing in the wind, Ballard also says to take at least one extra club for the distance. “Since this is a little too much club, what we’re going to actually do is choke down on it a half-inch or three-quarters of an inch so that’s going to take a little of that distance off.”
Ballard’s second key for the wind swing is not to rush the shot, to be smooth back and through. “I’m not going to try to kill the golf ball,” Ballard says. “If I try to kill it I’ll end up hitting down too much, getting too aggressive and getting too much spin on there.”
His final tip for playing the shot into the wind is to hit the ball a little higher on the clubface to take off some spin. “The lower the spin, the lower the ball flight,” Ballard says.
3. Todd Kolb Talks About Flighting it Down
In his video, PGA teaching pro Todd Kolb of USGolfTV.com says, “If you’re going to play golf in the wind, the first thing you have to do is understand how to bring your ball flight down.”
Kolb’s 2:45 instructional video explains just that, and it also dispels the commonly believed misconception that hitting down on the ball makes it go higher. “Hitting down on the golf ball will actually help you bring it a little lower,” Kolb explains and demonstrates on his TrackMan Launch Monitor.
“Hitting down on the golf ball will actually help you bring it a little lower.”
“I’m going to give you two tips for hitting the low-flying wind shot,” Kolb begins. “The first thing to do is move the ball slightly farther back in your stance. Then I want you to take the handle of the shaft and lean it slightly toward the target, that will take a little loft off the face and help draw down the ball flight a little bit.”
4. Mark Crossfield Talks About Weight and Ball Position
The final windy day playing tip comes courtesy of a video with Ask Golf Guru Mark Crossfield.
Crossfield says he starts by taking an extra club or two depending on the wind’s velocity, then, as Todd Kolb suggests, he moves the ball back in his stance a fraction.
At address, Crossfield says he puts about 70 percent of his weight on his front foot, “and I’m going to try to keep it there as I swing and I’m also going to try to feel like I swing very slow in speed. So, less loft and less clubhead speed…I’m trying to take spin off there. You want the ball going forward, not up.”
If you care to explore, you’ll find other videos on playing in strong winds but the four reviewed today cover the basics: take an extra club or two and swing it smoothly.
One other common sense suggestion: go to the driving range on a windy day and practice these shots so you’ll be familiar and comfortable with them sometime when the wind comes up with the match on the line late on the back nine.
Here’s a bonus vide: