No matter where the course, from seaside links to tranquil parkland, wind will make an appearance.
Knowing how to tackle the breeze when it begins to blow is an essential part of a senior golfer’s armoury.
How to think:
When the wind begins to blow, many golfers automatically begin to speed up their routine and shots, as if by rushing they can cheat the wind. Rushing a shot in the wind will not produce consistent results, seniors should try to relax and take their time.
How wind will affect the ball:
It is important to understand how wind effects ball flight before choosing what club and shot to play. When hitting into a breeze (either straight into or from the sides), the spin imparted on a ball will increase. That’s why a standard 8 iron shot into the breeze will travel less distance. The spin originally imparted on the ball will multiply as the wind hits the ball. Hitting the ball down breeze will have the opposite effect; the spin on the ball will be ‘knocked off’ by the wind.
Club and shot selection:
By understanding how the wind affects ball flight, the senior golfer is better placed to pick the correct club and shot selection. When hitting into the breeze, select a club with less loft than usual depending on the strength of the wind. This will initially send the ball with a lower shot trajectory. When hitting downwind, the opposite is true but remember the ball will travel even further when it lands because of the backspin being neutralized by the wind.
There are two key swing thoughts to keep in mind - maintain balance and don’t swing hard at the ball (swinging hard will only increase backspin).
How to play a low punch shot:
Another strategy to help mitigate the wind is to learn a low punch shot. Here is how to do it:
1. The punch shot needs to fly low and have a penetrating flight.
2. First the ball position should be just back of centre in the stance (with a 7 iron).
3. Place the feet about shoulder width apart.
4. Aim the body and club as normal; we want the ball flying low but straight!
5. Place 60% weight on the front knee whilst leaning the shaft forward of the ball toward the target.
6. This will bring the hands ahead of the ball, opposite the left thigh, keeping the club loft low.
7. Swing the club away, keeping the body weight 60% on the front foot.
8. The backswing should be three quarters in length, remember the senior golfer wants a low ball flight; a full wrist swing will not achieve this.
9. Drive down and through impact, returning the hands ahead the ball and placing 60% of body weight on the front foot.
10. At impact, the hands should be ahead of the ball, opposite the left thigh.
11. The follow through, like the backswing, should be three quarters in length.
Use these techniques to help to improve your play in windy conditions.