When It's Breezy Swing Easy, Golf Swing Tip

Golf is full of counterintuitive concepts – you must hit down to get the ball up, for example. Here's another one: When it's breezy, swing easy.

When playing into a headwind, most golfers will swing harder in an attempt to power the ball through the resistance. This has an undesired effect, though. The harder you hit the ball, the more backspin you impart, which makes the ball fly higher – a big no-no. Plus, the headwind actually increases backspin, causing the ball to balloon upward and fall well short of the target.

Instead of a harder swing, take an extra club or two depending on the wind's strength, grip down an inch or so, and make a smooth, controlled swing. Both the backswing and follow-through should be slightly shorter than usual.

The ball will fly lower with less spin, minimizing the wind's effect. By swinging at less than full power, you'll also hit the ball more solidly – the biggest key to playing well in the wind.

When It's Breezy, Swing Easy

When It's Breezy, Swing Easy

Playing golf in the wind is a challenge. Well, to be fair, playing golf even in perfect conditions is a challenge. This is a game which has a reputation as one of the most difficult in the world, and that reputation has been well-earned. So, when you add the variable of wind to an already difficult game, you have a recipe for trouble. If you are going to play well even when the wind blows, you need to have a very specific game plan in mind. Good golf is never an accident, after all, regardless of the conditions you face.

In this article, we are going to provide some advice which we hope will help you to play better golf in windy conditions. As you can tell from the title of the article, a big part of your game plan on a breezy day should be to make smooth, controlled swings. Swinging 'easy' is not something that comes naturally to most golfers, but you should strongly consider learning how to implement this strategy. As you will see later, swinging easy in the wind is a great way to get your ball safely around the course.

Unfortunately, most golfers have the opposite approach when it comes to playing on a windy day. When the ^wind picks up, the average amateur player picks up the speed of his or her swing, trying to fight back against Mother Nature. It should not be surprising that you aren't going to be able to overpower Mother Nature in this battle – you are in way over your head in that showdown. Rather than trying to fight against the wind, you need to swing easy and work with the wind to send the ball toward your target. No matter which direction the wind happens to be blowing, you can actually use it to help you produce a great shot. There will be more on this concept later in the article.

In addition to swinging the right way, one of the important steps you can take when playing in the wind is to accept the fact that it is going to be a tough day. Playing in the breeze is simply harder than playing when the weather is calm – there is no reason to hide from that fact. Instead of trying to pretend like you aren't affected by the wind, or instead of expecting to shoot the same score you would shoot on a nice day, it is far better to be realistic. Understand that you are in for a challenge, and embrace that challenge with optimism and excitement. Some of the most satisfying rounds you will ever play in this game will come when the conditions add to the difficulty of the course.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Advantages of an Easy Swing

The Advantages of an Easy Swing

Let's get right down to business – what is so beneficial about making an easy swing when the wind is blowing? To understand this concept, you have to understand what you should be trying to do in the wind. The best way to make it around the course successfully in the wind is to keep your ball down closer to the ground. Rather than hitting big, high shots up into the sky, you are going to play a lower game. By flighting the ball down, you will avoid some of the wind, and it will be easier to control your ball.

As it would happen, swinging easy is perhaps the best way to keep your ball down close to the ground. When you make a smooth, easy swing, you take some of the speed out of your swing, and as a result, some of the spin is going to be taken off of your shots. This is great news, at least as far as hitting low shots is concerned. It is the backspin on your shots that causes them to climb high into the sky. By taking some of that spin away, the ball will fly lower and the wind will have less of an effect on the shot when all is said and done.

So, making an easy swing is a good idea in the wind because it is going to take spin off of the ball. However, that is not the only benefit you will enjoy. The following points should provide you with additional motivation with regard to making an easier swing.

  • Stay balanced. It is hard to stay balanced during your swing when the wind is blowing. As you make it up to the top of your swing on a windy day, you will likely feel the force of the wind pushing your body in one direction or another. That force may be enough to push you off balance, creating a problem as you transition into the downswing. By making an easy swing, you should be able to do a better job of staying grounded throughout the swinging action. Your backswing won't be as long, and you may even choose to use a wider-than-normal stance to help on this point as well. With better balance should come better ball striking, and better overall results in the end.
  • Avoid rushing. One of the big mistakes made by amateur golfers playing in the wind is rushing through the swing. The wind can make you nervous or anxious about the results of your upcoming shot, and those feelings usually lead to a rushed swing. If you are thinking about swinging easy, however, you should be able to resist the temptation to rush through the shot. Maintaining a good tempo is essential in the wind, and swinging easy is the best way to focus on your tempo.
  • Keep the ball in play. In particularly heavy winds, it might be a challenge just to keep your ball in play somewhere on the course. When you face such daunting conditions, swinging easy is going to help minimize the damage that your misses can do. Sure, you will still hit some poor shots along the way, but making an easier swing should mean that your poor shots don't stray as far from the target line. For instance, a drive that might have wound up out of bounds if you made a big swing, may just drift off into the rough thanks to your easier swing. Often, golf is not so much about what happens with your good shots, but rather it is about avoiding big trouble with your mistakes. Keep the ball on the course throughout a windy round and your score will benefit in the end.

Once you get comfortable using an easy swing in the wind, you will wonder how you ever managed to play any other way. In fact, you might find that you like this kind of swing enough to start using on calm days, as well. Golf is not a game which tends to reward brute strength and sheer effort. Instead, it favors consistency, rhythm, and cautious play. Learn how to use an easy swing and those windy days on your local course suddenly won't seem so intimidating.

Using the Wind to Your Benefit

Using the Wind to Your Benefit

Most golfers think of wind as being helpful only when it is blowing from behind. When hitting a downwind shot, especially a tee shot, you can benefit in the form of longer overall distance. Once you get the ball up and riding the wind, there is no telling how far it will be able to travel before it comes to a stop. As long as you are in a position to take advantage of this opportunity – such as hitting a tee shot on a wide-open par five – it can be a great thing indeed.

With that said, you can actually use any kind of wind to your benefit, as long as you know how to play the right type of shot. The list below highlights the three types of shots you will need to play in the wind – into the wind, crosswind, and downwind – and explains how you can leverage those conditions to your benefit.

  • Into the wind. This is the wind condition that most players dread facing, but it actually can work to your favor in some circumstances. On the downside, playing a shot into the wind is going to cost you distance, of course, and it also may make it more difficult to keep your shots on line. However, there is a positive to be found here as well. On into the wind shots, it is going to be easy to get your ball to stop once it comes down. The wind is going to cause the ball to fall mostly straight back down to the ground, meaning you will have an easy time controlling the ball after it lands. This can pay off in a number of situations, but it is most useful on approach shots. By hitting a low approach shot into the wind, you can control the flight of the ball beautifully and bring it down softly onto the green. It takes a bit of practice to master this shot, but it is highly useful once you learn how to pull it off.
  • Crosswind. In reality, this is the trickiest wind in the game. It is hard to judge how much a crosswind is going to affect the flight of your shots, and hitting this type of shot too high can lead to a ball flight that veers dramatically off course. As was the case with the previous point, however, there is a positive to be found when playing this kind of shot. Depending on which way the wind is blowing – right to left or left to right – and where the hole is positioned on the green, you might be able to use the wind to get closer to the cup than you could have gotten otherwise. For example, if the hole is on the left side of the green, and the wind is blowing from left to right, you can take dead aim at the cup. Why? Simple – that wind is almost certainly going to prevent you from missing on the short side (the left side). If the wind doesn't do much to the shot, you should end up in great position. If it does affect the flight of the ball, the ball will be blown back toward the wide part of the green. Either way, you should be left with a positive outcome. Using the wind as a safety net in this manner is a great way to play your approach shots in a cross breeze.
  • Downwind. Nearly every golfer looks forward to the downwind holes, but they aren't always as rosy as they might seem at first. Yes, it is true that hitting a tee shot downwind on a wide-open par five is an enjoyable experience – and you might be able to get to the green in two shots as a result. On the other hand, hitting approach shots downwind can be a challenge. The problem is just the opposite of what we saw with an into the wind shot. When playing downwind, it is hard to stop the ball, especially if the greens are firm. You will have to use caution when hitting your approach shots downwind, and always give yourself plenty of room behind your selected target in case the ball flies farther than expected.

The wind can provide an incredible challenge on the golf course, but it can also open up some nice opportunities. As long as you know how to look for those opportunities when they come up, and you are smart about picking both your targets and your clubs, playing a round of golf on a breezy day doesn't have to be quite as intimidating as you may have believed.