Just got home from an early morning tee off and had a very ordinary day. Wind, wind and more wind !!
Windy days can be extremely frustrating, my good shots turned out bad, and bad shots turned out worse. Distance control suffers, confidence disappears, and concentrating becomes next to impossible. I took it for granted on the 1st tee and made no change to my game to allow for the wind, playing my own course, which I know like the back of my hand, my entire strategy that I’d normally play was blown out the window when the wind picked up.
One of the most common problems for a majority of golfers is uncertainty on how to play in these conditions. We basically try to force our normal game and tend to really suffer because of it. But fear not, I’ve put together (with research from reference below) a few quick tips to keep your ball cutting through the wind like a hot knife through butter.
Swing Easy When It’s Breezy
One of the biggest mistakes people make when hitting into a head wind is they think they have to hit the ball harder to compensate for the wind. This actually makes things worse. The harder you hit a golf ball, the more backspin it generates. Combine this with a headwind, and you’ve got a recipe for a sky ball that land’s short every time.
Next time the gusts are blowing in your face, try making a smooth, controlled swing at about 75%. You’ll take some spin off the ball, get a lower ball flight and take some of the wind out of play.
Choke Down on a longer club (gripping further down the grip)
A driver generates more clubhead speed than a wedge. Why? Because the club is longer and generates greater centripetal force, and as we learned speed = spin, and spin will kill your score in the wind (take a look at how hard the pros hit their wedges when they’re trying to spin them back).
Since we’re swinging easier, take an extra club and choke down a bit. Choking down will give you a bit more control of the club and stiffen your shaft. A stiffer shaft will whip less and generate less clubhead speed, all helping to keep the ball lower with less spin.
Ball Back, Weight Forward
The longer the ball is in the air, the more opportunity for the wind to affect it. If you look at places where the wind blows constantly, like Scotland, players scoot the ball along the ground and hit very few high shots. In the wind, low shots = low scores.
By moving the ball back in your stance a bit, you’ll be sure to hit down on the ball with a de-lofted club, and loft is definitely not your friend in these conditions. Keeping a bit of your weight forward will help your hands stay ahead of the ball at impact, also contributing to less loft and a lower ball flight.
Fight it or Ride It
If you have a forced carry or need to get over a tree, hitting a low shot is no longer an option, so understanding how the wind will affect certain shots is critical. Where the shot starts and where it will end up depends on the winds direction and spin on the ball.
In the wind, a straight shot isn’t going to fly straight. The wind is going to drift the ball a little or a lot, depending on the strength of the gusts. However, if you absolutely need a straight shot, try fighting the wind. What that means is, if the wind is right to left, try hitting a fade (for a right handed player) right at your target; the sidespin on the ball should counteract the wind and produce a fairly straight shot.
If the hole is cut on the far edge of the green, let the wind help you feed the ball in nice and close. In a far left hole location in a right to left wind, start the ball at the right side of the green with a little draw. The wind will exaggerate the spin and push the ball farther than normal, letting you hit a safer shot that ends up close.
Don’t Risk It
One of the hardest things in golf is knowing when to cut your losses and back off. If you’re playing in the wind, you better learn this lesson or the wind will expose you. Don’t shy away from laying up on par 3’s & 4’s; often times you’ll have a better chance to get up and down than getting the ball on the green from far out. Don’t chase sucker pins or challenge fairway bunkers. Play for the fat part of the green and the widest part of the fairway, just take your medicine and move on when you get in trouble.
So next time the gales blow, use these tips and you’ll be as cool as a summer breeze. If you’ve got any tips or techniques you’d like to share that have been successful for you, please leave your comments below.
Researched information from an article in American Golf 2012- by Tyler Pringle
A golf stretching routine helps players enhance their ability to play excellent golf by improving golf fitness and flexibility.
Some people believe that there is nothing athletic about golf, but those who play the sport know that they have to maintain a rigorous golf training program to gain the required strength and flexibility to perform well. A regular golf stretching routine enables players to acquire skill, follow good technique, and focus better.
Muscles Used in Golf
The golf swing comprises of four elements – the backswing, downswing, ball strike, and follow-through. To generate torque and increase club head speed, core muscles are used.
Hamstring muscles play an important role in helping players maintain proper posture. Quadriceps helps players to maintain flex in their knees.
For rotation during the backswing, the upper back muscles are used. These muscles also help players maintain an erect spine. To position the upper body and generate speed, the shoulder muscles, and the trunk rotator muscles come into play.
Forearm muscles are used to control the golf club, as well as to support the wrists. Muscles in the fingers and wrists are also significantly focused on during a golf stretching routine.
The Benefits of a Golf Stretching Routine
Muscle strain and sore muscles are quite common among golf players. By performing a regular golf stretching routine, players can expect the following benefits:
- Muscles loosen up through stretching, enabling the player to relax during the swing. This relaxation further helps to improve accuracy, increase confidence, and gives you the ability to perform better, and swing faster and harder.
- Over time, you will find it easier to move in your swing, as stretching and strengthening will make your body more flexible, and increase range of motion.
- A regular golf strength and stretching routine can help prevent injuries like:
- Rotator cuff tendinitis – a condition that causes acute irritation in the shoulder tendons and muscles.
- Knee tendinitis – a condition that causes irritation in the knee tendons and muscles.
- Musculotendinous – overuse injuries, generally of the shoulder and elbow.
- Finally, even the most basic golf stretching routine can just make you feel better. Glossing over it in your regular golf training, however, could cost you dearly.
Despite the numerous benefits, it is important to bear in mind that stretching can have detrimental effects when done incorrectly. Excessive and aggressive stretches can over time cause pain and some damage to ligaments and joints.
Before stretching, be sure to warm up first, and if any of the exercises cause pain or severe discomfort, discontinue immediately.
Invest in a foam roller – (YouTube foam roller exercises for videos on how to use it)
Squats for your Quadriceps – 3x 10 slow reps – hold some weights (books in a ‘backpack’ if you have none)
Nordic curls are a great Hamstring exercise 3x 5 reps – Feet under a couch or your bed.
Basic Trunk strength exercises are Planks (on forearms and toes 3x 30 sec) more advanced trunk exercise can be standing rotations using a ‘Resistance Band‘ fixed to a point whilst you rotate 3x 15 reps on each side. (Resistance band jamed in a door)
See past Fairway Birdie Blogs for other great exercises.