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Club Selection in the Wind

Posted May 28, 2015 in feel mental intermediate advanced

Have you ever been standing on the tee wondering how much the wind will affect your shot? Club selection when it's windy is crucial in order to score. This article will give you more of a clue than a wet finger in the air.

To start, most tour players will toss up a bit of grass to help them more accurately judge how fast and in what direction the wind is moving. Once they can gain an estimate of that, club selection is made easier.

The direction of the wind also affects shots differently, as well as the amount of spin a player puts on the ball. The more spin a player imparts on the ball the more it will be affected in certain instances on a windy day. That being said, a ball hit into the wind will fly higher than one hit with no wind. This is sometimes referred to as “Ballooning”. This causes the ball to fly much shorter than it would have had there been no wind.

If a ball is hit with the wind behind it, it will fly lower than it would have without the wind. While hitting with the wind does cause a shot to go farther, it will not affect the ball as much as a shot that's flying into the wind.

To give an idea of this, generally, a drive that is hit directly into a 20 mph wind will be hit 20 yards shorter. A drive hit directly with a 20 mph wind will typically go 10 yards farther. Therefore one can estimate that a drive into the wind loses 1 yard per mph of wind, and a drive with the wind gains ½ a yard per mph wind. 

Say you're standing on a 170-yard par 3. You hit your 7 iron 170 yards when there is no wind. You know that there is 20 mph of wind. Therefore, if the wind is blowing into you, you should hit your 5 iron which you normally hit 190 yards. If the wind is with you, hit your 8 iron which you normally strike 160 yards.

Optimizing club selection in windy conditions will help you hit more greens and will put you in more par- and birdie-scoring opportunities.