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The Elements Article Series - Good Old Wind (Part 1 of 2)

Nov 16, 2014 9:05 PM
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Wind.  You hate it, I hate it, professionals hate it.  It's one of the toughest elements to understand and judge.  Ever been so sure of a wind direction only to hit your shot and it completely changes mid-flight?  We've all been there and hopefully in part one of this article series, Good Old Wind, we can look at the different effects wind has on our ball and it's flight. Then in part two, we'll discuss some strategies to make playing in the wind easier and hopefully save you a few strokes.

The effect of the wind on your game really depends on your personal ball flight.  Those of you with a higher ball flight will be more affected by wind conditions.  Just think about it, the higher you go up, the less resistance and stronger the winds become.  Here’s a good example of two different wind conditions and their effects on a drive.  These numbers were taken from a study done by a professional named Ken Tannar.  The baseline drive with no wind was between 250-255 yards.
  • 5 mph wind
    • With wind – 260 yards
    • Into wind – 240 yards
  • 20 mph wind
    • With wind – 275 yards
    • Into wind – 200 yards
Look at the difference we have here.  You can see that a wind blowing into you will hurt your distances much more than a tailwind will help you gain distance.

While we’ve looked at winds straight into you and downwind, playing in a crosswind is a lot more common for most of us.  Crosswinds will seriously exaggerate any spin you put on a ball.  Whether you’re a slicer or hooker of the ball should be taken into consideration when playing into a crosswind.  Playing back into a crosswind will affect your distances negatively, while playing with a crosswind will have the opposite effect and give you slightly more distance.  A good rule of thumb is about one foot of movement for every yard of distance in a 10 mph crosswind.  Then of course you’ll probably never encounter a crosswind that comes at a 90 degree angle to you.

Oh the joys of playing on a windy day!  Don’t feel bad on a day when it’s windy out.  Statistics show that even the best players in the world’s scores are significantly affected as the wind increases.  Even as much as four or five strokes in a round.  Do yourself a favor and check out part two of this article series, Good Old Wind, and learn how to make the wind less of an adversary.

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