GM Top 25 coach Barney Puttick explains how to score well when it's breezy
How To Play Golf In The Wind
You need to read all the clues, think about your strategy and adapt your gameplan accordingly
1 Become a detective
Acceptance is the first rule – scores will generally rise with the wind, so keep calm and play on! Observation is the second rule.
If you’re on a links, it’s easier to work out wind direction in the wide-open spaces, but tree-lined courses present a few challenges.
Dropping a few blades of grass isn’t going to help as your ball is going to be flying a lot higher, so check out the treetops to get a better idea of what the wind is doing.
Always keep a note of wind direction on the last hole you played as this may come in handy on the holes coming up. If you’ve just played downwind and the next hole plays at right angles, then expect a crosswind. A course planner can be particularly useful here.
2 Fight or ride the crosswind?
When the layout of a hole gives you a bit of space, ride the wind – hit it out into it and let the wind naturally move your ball back. If you’re in a more confined fairway with trees on the side the wind is coming from, that’s when you may need to try and hold the ball up with a little fade into a right-to-left wind, or a draw if it’s left-to-right. But if at all possible, my best advice is to keep it simple and ride the wind.
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3 Teeing height
Tee it a little higher than normal downwind, as that will give you more launch and take full advantage of the conditions. Into the wind, tee it a little lower to give you a flatter flight and more run, but not too low – perhaps just a bit below the equator of the ball. Too low and you’re likely to hit down on it too much and spin it up more – exactly the opposite of what you want!
4 Chip your way to a punch
The chip shot is an ideal blueprint for the punch shot into the wind, because you play it with your hands in front and truncate the finish without releasing the wrists. To get a feel for the low shot, start by chipping some 7-irons 30 yards and then gradually extend the swing, as this is exactly what you need into the wind to give you a nice flat shot that also takes the spin off. You can even do this with a hybrid, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Most people are quite happy with the chip and run, so work on gradually extending that technique to 50, 100 yards and more. And don’t forget to club up as required.
- ￼Check the treetops and make full use of the course planner
- Ride the wind if there’s room – only fight it if you really have to
- Learn to play the punch by extending the chip shot
Shot on location at Ashdown West Golf Course, East Sussex
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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