What’s the worst thing you can do when playing into the wind? Hit a high left-to-right shot (a fade). For a lefty, it would be a right-to-left ball flight. A headwind exaggerates any spin your ball carries, so a fade gets pushed far off line and flies a very short distance. The ball appears to balloon up and sideways as the wind kills its progress. A right-to-left shot, or draw, is less affected because it flies with less backspin and tends to penetrate the wind. If you’re capable of hitting a draw, use it whenever possible in windy conditions. If a draw’s not in your arsenal, you can still survive windy days playing your fade – the great Lee Trevino made a career of it. The first trick is to keep the ball low, which can be difficult since the fade is hit with an open clubface. The second key is to make sure the ball starts left of your target.
To play a fade into the wind:
- With the driver, tee the ball slightly lower than normal, with only a small portion of the ball above the club’s top line.
- With every club, play the ball back in your stance. A couple of inches inside the left (lead) heel for the driver, mid-stance for irons.
- Aim the clubface a little left of your intended target, with the feet and body aligned with the club or just slightly left. You’re looking for a minimal fade.
- On the takeaway, be sure to swing the club back along the line of your body while keeping the clubhead low to the ground.
- Swinging through, fire your right side through the shot. This will prevent the ball from squirting right while starting it on target and delivering the solid contact necessary to minimize the wind’s effect.
Follow the same steps for shots with irons or woods from the fairway, playing the ball slightly back in your stance.