Manage your game and your ball in windy conditions


The 2012 Ricoh Women's British Open was a true battle against the elements. Only one player finished under par, that being Jiyai Shin, who was 9-under and lapped the field to win by nine shots.

Aside from Shin, the other big story at Royal Liverpool at Hoylake was the weather.

Not long after the start of the second round Friday, winds kicked up to 60-plus mph, and officials shortly thereafter called play for the day. Then, in a rare move, partial scores of the players who had gone out early were ified.

And the winds were whipping again on Sunday, leading to some incredibly high scores in the final round.

Most average golfers don't experience such extreme wind during their recreational rounds, but even something less than an all-out gale can take a lot out of you and add a lot of strokes to your score.

So how you can you fare better when the wind starts howling?

SwingFix instructor Jason Sedan offered some advice:

'Playing in extreme wind conditions can be a test at any level,” Sedan said. “Here are few ideas about how to play shots in different windy conditions:”

• When hitting into the wind, take much more club than the yardage would otherwise indicate. Never try to muscle a shot through the wind, as you will only impart more spin and cause the ball to fly higher and come up even shorter. By taking more club, you not only have the increased speed you need for the ball to carry the right distance, you also have lower loft, which will keep the ball boring through the wind.

• Stopping the ball close to where it lands on the green becomes the toughest challenge hitting downwind. Find a number you are comfortable carrying the ball in the air, and based on the club you will use to hit to that distance, try to gauge the amount of stopping power you will have when it lands. If you have a wedge that you think will stop quickly, you can play a little deeper to the hole location. If you have a 5-iron, you may need to entertain landing short of the green or risk running through. It would also be at this point that you figure out where the best place to play your next shot from will be.

• Crosswinds can be very challenging to amateur golfers because rarely do they understand the influence the wind blowing left or right has on the distance the shot will carry. A golfer playing a right-to-left shot will need less club for a right-to-left wind and more club into a left-to-right wind. A golfer playing a left-to-right shot will need more club in a right-to-left wind and less club in a left-to-right wind. When needing a ball to release when it lands, look to start a ball away from the target and let the wind push it back. When looking to have a ball land more softly, play a ball closer to the target and curve the ball into the wind.

'These small adjustments when playing in windy conditions can produce dramatically improved results for where your ball ends up on the course,” added Sedan. “Likewise, overlooking these factors can make for a tiresome day on the links. And be mindful that windy conditions are a challenge to golfers at every level, and do your best to enjoy the unique playing conditions.'

Take an online lesson with Jason Sedan.