Mental Mondays: Adjust For The Wind
The general rule for dealing with breezes is to add or subtract one club for each 10 mph of wind. The trick is knowing just how fast the wind is blowing.
The Beaufort Wind speed scale can give you an idea of wind speed:
Wind Speed: Indicators
4 - 7 mph :Win felt on exposed skin. Leaves rustle, vanes begin to move.
8 - 12 mph :Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended.
13 - 17 mph :Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move.
18 - 24 mph: Branches of a moderate size move. Small trees in leaf begin to sway.
25 - 30 mph: Large branches in motion. Whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrella use becomes difficult. Empty plastic garbage cans tip over
31 - 38 mph: Whole trees in motion. Effort needed to walk against the wind.
Anything Faster: You shouldn’t be on the course.
So, with twigs and small branches moving, add one club. If larger branches are swaying add two.
It’s important to notice not only how things are on the ground, but also what’s happening up in the air. On tree lined fairways, there are dead zones where the wind is screened. High flying golf shots, however, still can be caught up in the breezes. While assessing the situation, notice how the wind is affecting the upper branches of the trees.
Hitting the ball harder into the wind isn’t a solution. A harder shot will increase the spin and exaggerate the wind conditions. Take more club.
Estimating what to do in a crosswind is a lot more tricky. In a crosswind, your ball will not only lose distance (though likely not as much as directly into the wind), but also drift in the direction it’s blowing.
If you’ve got the game, you can try to spin the ball into the wind to hold the line. For most of us, though, the solution is to try to compensate for the drift by aiming more left or right. A rule of thumb is to aim five yards left or right for every 10 mph of wind speed.
Crosswinds will exaggerate your ball’s natural flight. If you’re a slicer, a wind blowing to the right will carry your ball right off the course. Remember to compensate for that, also.
This all creates some very interesting calculus as you’re not only trying to figure how much club, but also how far left and right.
A final solution—again, if you’ve got the game—is to hit a punch shot, keeping the ball on a boring trajectory under the wind.
This tip is an excerpt from The Five Inch Course: Thinking Your Way To Better Golf. The complete book is available in Kindle format at Amazon.com.
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Mental Golf Tips