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Golf tips: How to play great in the wind

SJ

People struggle to play in the wind because they take the wrong approach to the conditions.

Most folk try to hit it harder but, if you do that, you’re actually only going to put more spin on the ball. The problem with that is that the wind exaggerates the spin on the ball even more.

However, you can reduce that by reducing the leverage in your golf swing. Here’s some simple advice to consider…

SJ1

Use these three keys

Reach for it

If I had a lot of leverage in my swing here, the clubhead would be behind my head. There is no way I would be able to turn slightly and point to my clubhead like I can when reducing the leverage in my swing.

That’s the difference in the wind, you want to keep your left arm straight to create width as it forces you to reduce the leverage and the length of swing, resulting in better control.

Gain control

By reducing the leverage, you reduce the loft at impact. The more of an ‘L’ shape you can get in your swing (between left arm and shaft), the more loft you’ll put on the club, which is perfect for a flop shot, or something along those lines.

But if you want to keep the ball low, under the wind, you need to know how to control it. If you reduce the loft, you’ll instantly gain more control in windy conditions.

SJ2

Take more club

You want to take more club in the wind as opposed to hitting the ball harder. I’ll sometimes take my 5-iron when the required distance in normal conditions is only my 7-iron. But I want full control of the shot minus the loft and spin.

It’s almost like you’re hitting a really long, aggressive putt. Zach Johnson won the Open last year at St Andrews with that kind of swing and it’s a very useful skill to have in your armoury.

SJ

Simple tweaks to your swing

There isn’t anything really drastic that you need to do to your swing to play in the wind. Just think about being ‘short back and through’ – that’s the key point. Your follow-through should be curtailed.

Anything shorter than your normal follow-through will be of massive benefit to you. Just remember that the higher you follow through, the higher your ball flight will be.

I like to feel as though I’m quite straight to the target line on my follow-through, a little more punchy.

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Steve Johnston is the Head Professional at Peebles Golf Club. For lessons, call Steve on 01721 720197. Follow Steve on Twitter @sjohnstonpga and you can also subscribe to his YouTube channel ‘Steve Johnston PGA’.

Steve Johnston
Steve Johnston is the Head PGA Golf Professional at The Roxburghe. For lessons, call Steve on 01573 450 333. Follow him on Twitter @mrstevejohnston
Steve Johnston

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1 Comment

  1. Dean Walker

    November 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Steve, very good post.

    What are your thoughts on ball position? Alot of players tend to think that you need to put the ball further back in your stance when playing into the wind.

    In my opinion, yes this will keep the ball lower but this will also impart more spin on the ball because you will steepen your attack.

    I believe in a more neutral ball positon and use the actions you have described to keep the ball down.

    Dean Walker

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