Wind play

I would be interested in hearing how people here deal with playing in windy conditions - into the wind, cross winds etc.

How do you try to shape the ball or control the spin in the wind?

It’s been really windy here for the last week or so. I have been trying to work it against the wind and hit extra club, or in some situations, ride the wind and take less. One thing I’ve learned is to hit low shots downwind, because it is too difficult to predict whether the helping wind will help, or knock the shot down.

Interesting question for today it was quite windy, cloudy, a bit chilly for this time of year. These are what my intentions are on a windy day.

  1. Left to right wind…draw ball into wind.
  2. Right to left wind…fade ball into wind.
  3. Down wind is my least favorite, more difficult for me to stay “centered”, or behind the ball on impact. Also, to me more difficult to club correctly.
  4. Head wind, if the wind is steady, I take one more club than I think is necessary against this wind. It might be 2, 3 or 4 clubs more than the normal yardage for that club. If the wind is gusting, wait until the calmist part and hit your selected club.

It’s a “feel” thing really. Today Bentshaft and I played at a course in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and it was very windy. From the tees you could feel the wind and hear it. But from the fairways, (lower) you couldn’t feel how strong the wind was, but you could see and hear the wind in the trees. Then shooting up hill to the elevated greens, you know that wind is going to effect the shot plenty.

I don’t think there is a calculated formula for wind play…10mph left/right aim 2ft right draw 2 yds. It’s just intuition, judgement, feel.

yup–it was cold and windy indeed…

I remember an older post when Lag talked about Mr. Hogan “feeling the wind” in a certain situation…
Today, we (hoganut and myself) heard and felt it, but did we “feel” it? Impossible to quantify, maybe next time I will just close my eyes “feel” what i need to do…

In any case, it gives me a ton of appreciation for the guys that have less than stellar playing conditions.



Any reason you don’t hit your shot with the wind and take a club less? For example a draw with a left to right wind? Is one way better in your mind compared to the other? And if so why?



I want my ball to go straight. If the wind is blowing left to right, then a draw into that wind will tend to straighten it out. (Of course if it’s not an overcooked draw). And then in the right to left wind, a fade into that wind will (hopefully) straighten the shot out.

I don’t want to ride with the wind. You’re at the mercy of the wind at that point. I can see a situation where that could be beneficial…such as needing to draw a 20/30 yd shot left with the wind helping right to left. But for a normal shot, I think moving the ball into the oposing wind will straighten the shot, and that’s what I want.

Does that make sense for the cross or oblique wind?

The only shot I want to ride the wind with is straight downwind. That’s my worst wind trouble shot. Gives me fits. First it’s difficult for me to stay behind the shot, and secondly your at the mercy of the wind again.

Just my opinions, and the way I play. I do not disagree with riding the wind, if that’s what works for the particular player.

One little thing I do before a comp round is look at at local wind conditions online during the next 5 hours (e.g. here’s my local chart.) So I’d turn up to the course thinking something like, “2 club wind from the north for the first 10-11 holes, then turning around quickly to a one club from the south for the rest.”

I’ll always try to read the wind out on the course, the chart is more a confirmation when I’m confused or otherwise can’t get a good indication out there.

I would either use the wind or fight the wind depending on the club I had in my hand and where the best angle to the pin was from or what side of the green the pin was cut and where the main danger was.

When I fought the wind with an iron, I wouldn’t necessarily try and play draws and fades all the time by starting the ball away from final target.

With left to right winds I always found it easier to aim straight and hood the face in a little. This created some hook spin for me that held up against the wind so the ball was fighting the wind but would end up flying reasonably straight…in my mind there is nothing worse than hitting a ball out to the right on a left to right wind…so I aimed straight and never tried to hook it from right to left against the wind, just let the little hook spin of a closed face hold it up on it’s own accord and fly straight…not drastically trying to start right and hook it back…it was very hard to over hook it that way, and you rarely left one right because you weren’t trying to start it right and hook it back.

Right to left winds I didn’t mind starting it right or straight or even sometimes left of target and try fade the ball against the wind to hold it up some or to really hold it up some or even try work it against that wind, taking more club obviously depending on the trajectory I had to take based on the club I had to use…I worked on really angle hinging the hands (holding the hands off) more thru impact depending on how much shape I felt I needed on the ball to keep it from going too much left on the wind.

Into the wind…less club (4 instead of a 5) and swing smoother with a pretty regular setup and swing style to keep some spin off the ball so it wouldn’t balloon upwards…that kept it low…or you could also stick the ball back in the stance and use the hands leading for a lower punch under the wind

Downwind shots…pretty easy compared to the others …normal shot basically with less club or smoother swing

I used a map of the course in my yardage book and drew a arrow on it each day before teeing off to get a good idea of wind direction especially for the holes that can loop around amongst trees and it becomes harder to gauge in those swirling areas.

Makes a lot of sense. I often fight the wind as well. But that is my personality and my personality is a part of my game. I have always struggled with distance control in the wind. Perhaps its when I try to ride the wind that my distance is way off. I will pay attention next time i play in a windy situation.

Two, I like the idea of just hooding the face a little when there is a slight left to right wind. I will try that on my next round.

When I first played with Lag, I remember asking him about swinging smooth on shots into the wind. His comment was something like…Just hit it hard! I’m guessing lag does what you said two into the wind and hits a lower trajectory punch shot.

Thanks for the information guys,


Twomasters explained it more eloquently than I did by far. I didn’t mean to suggest that in a cross wind I start the ball left or right. I said at the begining that I wanted the ball to go straight. So, like Two said much better than I, intending to spin the ball into the wind, oposing it, “holding it up to the wind”, to make the ball go straight is the way I try to hit the shot.

Some of my thoughts:

  1. Get your short game ready. If it’s really windy it becomes tougher to hit shots close and to find GIR. Probably best to have a sharp short game and to get the ball close to the green in 2 on par-5’s to score well.

  2. Clubface control and sweetspot contact are now more important. You start to hit those really wild shots when you make more error with your clubface control or mis-hit the shot.

  3. Wind play is a lot about 1/2 shots. You’ll have to take a 1/2 punch into the wind or take a 1/2 club with the tail wind.

  4. Generally the tail wind doesn’t help you nearly as much as going into the wind helps you. Particularly with shorter clubs. You may have a 2 club wind going into it, but then when you get the tailwind you may only get 5 extra yards because the wind is knocking the ball down.

  5. Cross winds you have to be careful because generally you’ll be hitting into the wind a tad. You have to take note of the direction you are going in and the direction that cross wind is going. Cross winds can be tricky because sometimes you can angle your shot a 10* one way and be into the win and then 10* another way and be with the wind.

  6. When it’s breezy, swing easy.


One of the strengths of my game has been wind play. Not by coincidence growing up on a seaside golf course. The first three holes would head straight into the wind. The next two turned right leaving left to right winds. Two came back the other way,
and two down wind on the front nine. The back nine swept side to side, then three holes into the wind off downhill lies, then a sideways left to right wind, then three coming in downwind but played off uphill lies.

I just can’t speak enough for how valuable this was to my development as a shotmaker.

I always felt I could play better with a bit of wind… 10 to 15 mph allows me to shape the ball into something (the wind) and it could usually help me get the ball close to the hole. When winds get 30 to 40 mph it’s of course much more difficult… but like keeping the swing aggressive with some wind. I feel like I can really rip at it hitting downwind with the driver, rip it into the wind playing a driver off the ground, the ride the wind into the greens if you can work it into the pin, or hold it against the wind if you need to come in with a higher trajectory.

I’m currently playing my golf on an almost links style course, high up at the foot of a wind farm and really understand ritchies point about bringing your shortgame. Its no coincidence that when I play more tree lined parkland style courses, even with considerably smaller greens I still manage more gir. I now thoroughly enjoy wind golf now though!

My biggest problem with the wind is a strong headwind from left to right, especially with a driver. I struggle to try to hit a draw into a left to right wind (just can’t visualize it) and hitting a fade in that wind can have the ball literally going sideways at the end of its flight if it baloons up. I have always tried to play upwind and allow it to drift back which I now think is a big mistake.

I got out for a quick 18 yesterday. Round started out with just a touch of wind and by hole number 4 i had a 30 mph cross wind. Being in the central valley of california now, that wind was just kicking up all kinds of dust from the plowed fields next to the course. It was like playing in a sand storm. That 30 mph cross wind turned into a cross to helping wind on the par five 6th where i hit a my persimmon 2 wood. A 330 yd drawing drive down the middle of the fairway left me a me a 3 iron in. 3 iron ended up at 15 feet and i rolled it down the slope and in for eagle.

That same wind helped me out on the back nine when I hit a holding 7 iron to 12 feet and holed it for birdie!

Sometimes wind is a good thing! :smiley:

Does anyone switch the ball to a low spin ball when its windy? Is this a good idea? Is there a good low spin wind ball?

I tried this once, but switching to a low spin ball ruins your short game and really limits the type of pitches and chips you can hit. The really low wedge into a green will now run off the back and no more checking chip shots if you miss the green.

The secret to hitting the driver into a wind for me is to swing alot slower. Nothing above 70-80%. This takes a ton of spin off the ball and rides it into the wind much further and straighter.Also the slower swing also encourages the club head to release a bit more putting a tad more draw spin on the ball which helps.