Does The Wind Actually Affect Your Golf Ball

On Thursday and Saturday past, I played at my home course of Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort. At the start of the round, the wind was playing very hard and all the players in my group knew we would be adjusting our distances to account for the howling breeze. The challenge many amateurs have is understanding how much adjustment is needed to combat any breeze. For this article, I am going to offer some suggestions on how to change your club select to still hit the distances you want.

This topic will cause some amateurs grief because will not accept that amount of affect the wind has on their golf ball. It is not surprising because most of us think we hit the ball farther than we do. Additionally, we fall under the misconception that it is important to try and hit the ball harder into or with the wind because it will help negate the stressor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The following chart is a baseline provided by Golf Monthly. I agree with the distances, but have some other thoughts to share at later in this article. For now:

CALCULATING DISTANCE IN THE WIND – HEADWIND

A great rule to use is to add 1% for every 1mph of headwind. So the following distances would change like this:

  • 100-yard shot into a 5mph wind = 105 yards
  • 200-yard shot into a 5mph wind = 210 yards
  • 100-yard shot into a 10mph wind = 110 yards
  • 200-yard shot into a 10mph wind = 220 yards
  • 100-yard shot into a 20mph wind = 120 yards
  • 200-yard shot into a 20mph wind = 240 yards
  • 100-yard shot into a 30mph wind = 130 yards
  • 200-yard shot into a 30mph wind = 260 yards

CALCULATING DISTANCE IN THE WIND – DOWNWIND

When playing downwind use 0.5% instead, so judging your distance in the wind would look a bit like this:

  • 100-yard shot with a 5mph tailwind = 98 yards
  • 200-yard shot with a 5mph tailwind = 195 yards
  • 100-yard shot with a 10mph tailwind = 95 yards
  • 200-yard shot with a 10mph tailwind = 190 yards
  • 100-yard shot with a 20mph tailwind = 90 yards
  • 200-yard shot with a 20mph tailwind = 180 yards
  • 100-yard shot with a 30mph tailwind = 85 yards
  • 200-yard shot with a 30mph tailwind = 170 yards

As you peruse the chart, it makes complete sense. The challenges facing any golfer hitting into the wind, unfortunately, forget that other factors influence our club selection. For example, temperature, moisture, elevation, and/or ball position. Do you have to hit the ball higher to go over an obstacle or is a stinger the shot being made? The influences on any golf shot are numerable and on a breezy day, these influencer can be more challenging.

The one important tip I learned years ago is to swing easy when it is breezy. This applies to all clubs and the following video shows just how to do this:

Playing golf on a breezy day is fun and challenging. Knowing how to shots on a breezy day will lower your golf scores and increase your enjoyment on the links. Golf is meant to be played in all types of weather and a breezy day will happen more often than any other weather condition. By using the above chart as a baseline, you are well on your way to playing your best golf on a windy day.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

3 thoughts on “Does The Wind Actually Affect Your Golf Ball

  1. Playing in the wind is all about the spin. Into the wing we swing easy because that generates less spin. Another thing to note is that whether we can control the spin left or right or not doesn’t matter. No matter what our normal shot shape is there’s a wind direction that will help us and the rest we will need to be more careful in. If we can shape our shots, knowing what shot shape works best for the wind direction is very helpful. I know if the wind is helping mostly but angling in over my right shoulder that I want to hit a small fade shot shape. That’s going to give me spin that has the wind pushing it forward as hard as it can as well as being the easiest swing for me to pull off. If it’s dead behind me I want a tall straight shot to give the wind as long as possible to keep pushing it down range. And a draw will go farthest when the wind is coming in over my left shoulder. By the same token if the wind is off the left shoulder it’s going to roll a fade over into a slice and off the right shoulder, that draw is going to draw more. Whether we can control our shot shapes or not, knowing these things gives us tools we can use.

    As for the distances you give for yourself, I’d say I’m in line with what you have there. Give or take a little. A lot depends on swing speed so it’s going to be a bit different for most of us. But it’s a good rule of thumb idea. I generally just think about it in terms of club. One club per 10 mph wind speed in either direction. I’ll deviate from that for certain shot types, but on the whole, that’s my rule of thumb way of dealing with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      We are on the same page for what constitutes a one club wind. I like you first paragraph about how you use the wind to help with your shots. I do try to shape my ball in the wind to gain an advantage, but it does not always work for me.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

      • It doesn’t always work for anyone. Either we don’t execute, or we guess the wind wrong, or it’s truly vindictive and gusts into our face in our Tin Cup moment. It’s an added challenge for sure. But I think of it as playing the wind as opposed to playing in the wind. I enjoy the challenge and try and make the most of it. From the very beginning there was nothing I’ve enjoyed more than watching a cross breeze carry my ball to the hole.

        Liked by 1 person

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