The Mental Golf Challenges of a Crosswind

    Your goal from a physical standpoint when playing in a crosswind is to change your technique as little as possible. You are going to have to make some minor adjustments, like using one extra club and swinging easy, but you don’t want to make any large changes. Of course, as is always the case in golf, the physical side of this shot is only half the battle. You also need a clear game plan to keep your mind in the right place while playing these shots. The wind is a mental challenge to be sure, so don’t overlook this issue.

    The points below should help you think clearly when a crosswind is making its presence felt.

  • The work is done when you take your stance. Part of the problem that golfers experience when playing in the wind is that they never let go of their concerns about the breeze. They keep thinking about the wind while standing over the ball – even though the decision-making part of the process is over. This is a big mistake. You need to consider the wind, of course, when picking your club and planning your shot, but those considerations should be done when you settle in to make the swing. Once in your stance, forget about the wind and just make a great swing. There is nothing you can do about the breeze anyway, so trust your preparation and do your best to hit a solid shot. Learning how to keep the wind out of your mind while over the ball is a big step toward becoming a better wind player.
  • Feel free to take a step back. This point might seem like a contradiction to the previous point, but just hear us out for a second. Yes, you should put the wind out of your mind as much as possible when you step over the ball. However, a big gust of wind is still going to get your attention, no matter how much you are trying to ignore the presence of the breeze. If the wind comes up – or calms down – right before you are going to make your swing, feel free to step back and reset yourself. It would be difficult to ignore such a big change in the strength of the wind, since you factored in the wind speed as you were planning your shot. When a wind change grabs your attention, take a quick step back, reset yourself, and walk up to try again.
  • Control what you can control. This just might be the most important tip of all when it comes to playing in the wind. When het wind is blowing, there is only so much you can do with regard to the outcome of your shots. Once the ball leaves your club face, it is at the mercy of the conditions and the course. On a calm day, there isn’t much to worry about. But, on a windy day, you could see a great shot blown badly off track by a sudden gust. This isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t blame yourself when it happens. The only things you can control are the execution of your swing and the quality of your game plan. As long as you think your shots through and execute to the best of your ability, you should be proud of your effort. If something outside of your control happens to lead to a bad result, just chalk it up to ‘golf being golf’ and move on.
  • If you can control the way your mind works while playing in the wind, you will be a big step ahead of the game. It’s always going to be tough to play well in the wind, but you are going to make it a little easier if you have the right attitude and focused mental approach. Let other players get flustered while the wind blows – by keeping a steady head and calm temper, you can outlast them all in the end.