Playing a downwind golf shot can be tricky. Hitting into the wind is often frustrating. But the crosswind may be the toughest breeze of all.

Tips for Handling a Heavy Crosswind, Part I Golf Tip

Unlike hitting with the wind at your back or in your face, playing through a strong crosswind isn’t a simple matter of changing clubs and maybe tweaking your technique. A sideways wind turns aiming into a guessing game, may or may not affect your club selection, and can cause huge havoc on a slight miscue.

Of course, a crosswind can be a great advantage in the right situation – but only if you’re prepared for it. We’ve got several tips that will boost your odds:

  • Go with your normal shot: A crosswind gives you two options – curve the ball into the wind, or curve it with the wind. Unless you’re an advanced golfer with the skill to shape shots in either direction, your best bet is to go with your natural shot. If you typically hit a fade (left-to-right curve for a right-hander), aim farther left in a left-to-right wind; aim straight at the target in a right-to-left breeze, letting the two forces cancel each other out.


  • Play a runner that rides the crosswind: The situation – left-to-right wind, flag on the right, no hazards guarding the green’s front left. Opportunity knocks. Play it correctly and the wind will take your ball straight to the hole. Aim well left and set up for a straight shot or slight fade, with the goal of landing the ball just short and left of the green. Then watch the wind work its magic. Always look for spots where the green is open on the side from which the wind is blowing.


  • Take more club if fighting wind, less club going with it: If you decide to hit a shot that curves into the wind, take an extra club as the wind will increase the ball’s backspin, knock it down and minimize roll. Conversely, play less club when your shot matches the wind direction as backspin is diminished and the ball will fly and roll farther.


  • Find the safest spot to miss: The first thing to assess is whether the wind is blowing toward or away from trouble. If the answer is “toward,” you’ll want to aim as far as possible from the hazard to make absolutely certain you don’t find it. Wind blowing away from trouble? Take a more aggressive line and trust the wind to steer the ball toward safety.


Handling a heavy crosswind is a challenging aspect of golf, but with the right technique and strategy, you can navigate through it successfully. Crosswinds can affect the flight of your ball, making it crucial to adjust your setup and club selection. Here are some golf tips for handling a heavy crosswind, along with answers to common questions:

Golf Tip: Handling a Heavy Crosswind

  1. Adjust Your Setup: Align your body and clubface slightly into the wind to counteract its effect on the ball's flight.
  2. Ball Position: Position the ball slightly back in your stance to promote a lower ball flight and reduce the wind's influence.
  3. Grip Firmly: Hold the club with a firm grip to maintain control and prevent the wind from twisting the clubface.
  4. Keep the Swing Compact: Avoid excessive movements and focus on making a controlled and compact swing.
  5. Swing Smoothly: A smooth and controlled swing helps maintain balance and control in windy conditions.
  6. Lower Trajectory: Use a lower-lofted club to keep the ball flight lower and reduce its exposure to the crosswind.
  7. Commit to the Shot: Have confidence in your shot choice and commit to it, even in challenging conditions.
  8. Stay Patient: Understand that crosswinds can be unpredictable, and accept that some shots may not go as planned.
  9. Observe Wind Direction: Analyze the wind direction on each shot to determine its impact on your ball flight.
  10. Choose Wisely: Consider the risk-reward factor when deciding whether to go for certain shots in heavy crosswinds.
  11. Think Strategically: Opt for a conservative approach when necessary to avoid trouble and reduce potential scorecard damage.
  12. Stay Positive: Maintain a positive mindset and embrace the challenge of playing in crosswinds.


  1. Q: How does a heavy crosswind affect the ball's flight? A: A heavy crosswind can push the ball off its intended line, causing it to drift sideways and affect its distance.
  2. Q: Should I use more or less club in a crosswind? A: Use less club to keep the ball flight lower and reduce its exposure to the crosswind's effects.
  3. Q: Can I use a fade or draw to counteract a crosswind? A: You can use a fade or draw to some extent, but it's essential to align your body and clubface into the wind to compensate properly.
  4. Q: How do I adjust my putting in crosswinds? A: In crosswinds, take into account the wind's direction and speed when reading greens and making putting adjustments.
  5. Q: Can a heavy crosswind impact my club selection for approach shots? A: Yes, a heavy crosswind can affect the distance and trajectory of your shots, so adjust your club selection accordingly.
  6. Q: Should I change my swing speed in crosswinds? A: It's best to maintain a consistent swing speed, focusing on control and technique rather than altering your speed drastically.
  7. Q: How can I practice for playing in crosswinds? A: Practice in windy conditions on the driving range and course to become familiar with how the wind affects your shots.
  8. Q: Is it better to play a punch shot in crosswinds? A: A punch shot can be effective in crosswinds to keep the ball flight lower and reduce the wind's impact.
  9. Q: How can I gauge the wind's speed and direction on the course? A: Use tree movement, flag position, and observing other players' shots as indicators of wind speed and direction.
  10. Q: Should I adjust my putting stroke for crosswinds? A: In crosswinds, focus on keeping your putting stroke smooth and controlled, adjusting for any wind effect on the ball.
  11. Q: Can a heavy crosswind affect my clubhead alignment at address? A: Yes, the wind can influence your clubhead alignment, so ensure it is aligned into the wind for a straighter ball flight.
  12. Q: Can I use a hybrid or long iron instead of a wood in crosswinds? A: Yes, a hybrid or long iron can be a better choice in crosswinds due to their lower ball flight and increased control.

By following these golf tips and answers to common questions, you can handle heavy crosswinds more effectively and make better decisions on the course. Embrace the challenge and use your skills to navigate through the wind and achieve successful shots in any weather condition.

Want more tips for battling a crosswind? Check out Part II of this feature.