Amateur golfers and professional golfers alike all must battle the challenges of Mother Nature. There are no exceptions to this reality. The trick is to learn how to minimize the negative effects of organic conditions and, when possible, to turn them into an aid.
Typically, the greatest natural weather obstacle for a golfer is wind. Rain, snow and hail certainly can affect ball flight but none are played in as regularly as a mild to wild zephyr, so for the purposes of this dialogue we will be restricting our efforts to the aforementioned.
Typically, golfers in coastal areas are more adept at playing in stiff breezy weather, but even those in the middle ground — Kansas, for example — should be learning how to account for the bedeviling effect of this cruel handicap.
Here are some keys to playing in the wind that should help to keep your scorecard in double digits and closer to par:
- Club selection — When facing into a wind (headwind) for every five miles per hour the wind appears to be blowing choose one more club. Use the opposite philosophy for hitting with the wind. Do not trick yourself into believing the wind can help you carry the ball 250 with a four iron either!
- Swing plane — Unless you are a single digit handicapper, do not swing any differently than you normally would. If you are an accomplished player, then be sure to always take a simple ¾ swing to avoid getting too much air under that ball.
- Look for Tree Tops — Although the wind may appear to be blowing into your face, it does not necessarily mean that it will be doing the same thing 50 feet in the air. Look at the tops of nearby trees to indicate what direction the wind is actually blowing.
- Balls — Choose a lower spinning ball when playing in the wind. The new line of low-trajectory, low-spinning golf balls really do perform better in the wind than high-spinning accuracy balls.
The wind can become your friend if you let it. Simply account for it by knowing where it is, how much it is blowing, follow club wind selection guidance, and then trust your judgment.
And for the record if it is snowing, lightning or hailing and you find yourself desperate for advice on how to combat the elements on the course ... seek help immediately at your local 12 step program for golfers anonymous because you have it bad! Of course, when the weather improves, call me. You sound like my kind of wild and crazy golfer.