Getting the Right Putting Read On Windy Days

On particularly windy days, you might find that the actual roll of the ball is impacted by the wind. When that happens, you are really in for a challenge. Reading greens is hard enough when you are only worried about the slope of the ground and the speed of the surfaces – things get complicated in a hurry when you add in the matter of wind to the equation.

There are certain circumstances which are more likely to see the ball affected by the power of the wind than others. Some examples of such circumstances are listed below.

  • Speed of the greens. On fast greens, the ball is far more likely to be influenced by the wind than on slow greens. This is true for the same reason that you don’t need to hit your putts as hard on fast greens in order to reach the target. The grass isn’t providing as much resistance to the ball, meaning it takes less effort to cause it to move positions. So, as the wind blows across the green, it will have an easier time pushing the ball in one direction or another.
  • Positioning of the green. Within a round, you may find that the effect the wind has on the ball varies wildly depending on the positioning of the green you are playing at the time. A green which sits up, exposed to the elements is going to be impacted by the wind far more than a green which sits down in a valley, protected from much of the breeze. As you are trying to guess how much the wind is going to do to the golf ball, be sure to take this factor into consideration. Of course, there is a simple way to get a rough gauge on this point while getting your read – just think about how much wind you are feeling at the moment. Does this green feel more or less windy than the rest of the course? Your instincts will generally lead you in the right direction here.
  • Slope of the green. This last one may go without saying, but we are going to include it anyway. When the wind is blowing across the green in the same direction as the downhill slope, your ball is much more likely to be pushed. In fact, in strong enough wind, the ball may start moving without you even touching it, if the combination of the slope and the wind is sufficiently powerful. The wind may still impact the ball even if it is not blowing in the downhill direction – mostly by reducing the amount of break in the putt – but it is when the wind matches up with the downhill slope that you really need to pay attention.

It is important to remember that it is not only side-to-side break that you need to think about when adding wind into the process of reading a putt. The wind can also affect the speed of your putts, either slowing the ball down when putting into the wind, or speeding it up when putting downwind. In this way, putting in the wind is similar to hitting full shots in the wind. Do your best to combine both the read you get based on the slope of the ground and the read you get based on the wind to settle on a final plan of attack.