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Effect of wind on distance

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
After having played in 15-20 mph wind yesterday I started wondering how other people take wind conditions into account. I understand the right answer will be "it depends", but I'm looking for a rough estimates or tips on how to calculate distance in windy conditions.

For example, my average carry for a 8I is about 140y on the range and slightly higher on the course. Yesterday with a 15mph wind in the back my carry turned into 165y. Two holes later I hit a 6I straight into the wind for 150y for a loss of ~25y of average. Now, I expected the wind to effect things, but my calculations were off by 10 yards (with disastrous results for the 8I shot which carried the green and got lost in the brush).

First off I would ask how you calculate wind into distance? Do you think in clubs per X mph or in X yards per mph?

I am a very high trajectory hitter and do not adjust my trajectory for wind. My technique simply isn't there yet. So, I calculate about 1.0-1.5 yards loss per mph wind into the wind and 1.0 yard gain per mph with the wind.

If, as an example, we use a simple 160y par-3. What club would you hit with 0 mph, 10 mph into, 10 mph with, 20 mph into and 20 mph with?

For me it would probably be:

Normal trajectory: High straight / light fade
0 - 7I
10V - 5I
10^ - 8I
20V - 3H/5W
20^ - 9I

The 9I for a 160 shot for me looks daunting, but I've shot myself in the foot several times now by overclubbing in windy conditions.
post #2 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

I judge wind by the direction mostly, then the amount. Say that its a 10 mph wind, but it's coming from the right. I'd adjust about 5- 10 yards or so because im trying to hold it against the wind. If I wanted to go with it, I'd use the same club, just aim farther right.

On the example hole-

no wind- soft 8 iron
10 mph v- strong 8 iron
10 mph ^- perfect 9 iron
20 mph v- good 6 iron
20 mph ^- soft PW.

Into the wind, you want to add a little bit more yardage than with the wind behind you because the wind usually balloons your ball a little bit. Also, with the wind behind you, you have to take into consideration that it will take most of the spin off your ball, and it won't stop. It will drop and roll.
post #3 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

I'm not sure there is a formula for all golfers... each of us shapes shots differently in each of a myriad of wind conditions. I think the only thing you can do is play in windy conditions and develop a feel for what your shots will do. As a long time player, in two club and higher winds (meaning at least two clubs more are needed to reach your target) I change clubs based on the type of shot needed. If the green is open in the front, I might use a lot of club and punch a low shot in. I try never to hit as hard as I can in windy conditions because higher spin shots are going to react more unless you hit it perfectly. Downwind is the toughest situation, especially if you get a flyer lie and you don't get the spin you need. Not only will you be long, the ball will not drop and stop... it will continue to roll after landing. So if there is trouble behind the green, swing easier with more club and hit down on it so spin saves you. The high floater can bite you, as you found out.

Sorry I have no useful answer, but play in the wind every chance you get and over time you will learn to use the wind the best way you can.
post #4 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

I just feel out the wind just like every other shot. If it is blowing hard I might take more or less club, depending on direction. As you mentioned, it depends. Anytime I play in more than a normal breeze, I just pay attention the first few holes and see how it effects each shot and go from there. The first hole I might hit one extra club and come up short so I know that it is a 'two club wind' and will use that theory the rest of the round, or until conditions change.

I never think of it as a distance thing. I don't know how you are able to judge the speed of the wind when on the course. Each day is different, depending on the course layout, each hole is different with trees or hills or houses blocking the wind. I just take it hole by hole and use my best guess based on what happens on the first few holes.

For me every shot is different. I might play one hole into the wind and hit a lower trajectory shot with one club more. The next hole into the wind I might play a higher shot with a two club difference. Downwind I might do the same. Sometimes it just feels more comfortable over the ball to hit a high shot with less club and let the wind take it. Other times downwind I could hit a low shot so the wind doesn't come into play as much. You just have to figure it out over time, there isn't a magic formula.
post #5 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

It depends how strong the wind is and what direction the wind is from. If Im hitting into the wind, I will play the ball back in my stance a bit to keep the shot trajectory low and out of the wind.
If its a crosswind, I will aim a little to the left or right of my target to factor for the wind.
For the most part though, its just a matter of feel and its something that you develop over time.
post #6 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

Originally Posted by ZaPPPa;
I am a very high trajectory hitter and do not adjust my trajectory for wind. My technique simply isn't there yet.
I'm a very high trajectory irons hitter too. (I've done some knock down shots here and there, but they are not a reliable part of my game just yet. Othere things needing to be worked on first.)

Wind doesn't seem to bother me laterally, but definitely length-wise because of the high trajectory.

I'll take 1 extra club if the wind is in my face or side-on,
2 clubs if it's a stiff breeze that's continuously flapping the flags.

If the wind is behind, I usually find 1 less club will do it.

Even with the wind factored in, the dryness/hardness of the green is another thing that's easy to forget. If it's been raining recently that ball will more likely not bounce so far. But if it's hard and dry and the wind at your back, I've had range balls hit with a 7i finish up 175 yards away, instead of my more normal say 150.

But with a high trajectory shot, wet ground and a 1-to-2 club wind it could be 135. :eek:
post #7 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

I think it definately depends on your ball flight. The only thing I really make sure that I do is that I add more into the wind and take off less with the wind. Like you said there really is no perfect answer to this question. Jack was once coined as saying that a well struck ball will slice right through the wind...
Where I golf in the summer a 15-20 mph day would be considered good. It blows so much there it is crazy. I can honestly say that it is all feel, there can never be a set number per mph, because the wind is never consistent above. I have played(read: tried to play) in winds gusting up to 50-60 mph before and I actually think wind is kind of fun and just adds another dimension to the game. (Since we really need more!)
Really the only advice I can give you is to go play on those windy days instead of being mad that it's blowing and try as hard as you can to get a feel for it and get used to it the best that you can.
post #8 of 8

Re: Effect of wind on distance

Bottom line is you have to learn to hit the ball low and control trajectory. If you play in a lot of wind it will really benefit you to learn a low knock down shot.

Last summer I played golf for two weeks on the Carolina coast and struggled a bit for the first week because my normal high trajectory drives were just getting beat down into the wind. I spent a afternoon on the range adjusting my Driver trajectory to develop a much lower boring shot and it payed off my second week of play.

But as an example of how wind can effect a hole, I was playing from the back tees on one particular course that week and #16 was a 480 yard par 4 playing dead into a +25 mph wind. I hit a solid drive but got the trajectory up just a bit and only got it out there about 250. From there I hit a solid 4wd, but again got it up higher than I wanted and it landed about 30 yards short of the green, pitched up to 8 feet and just missed the putt. The next hole #17 was a 235 yard par 3 dead down wind. Normally I would have either hit a hard 3 iron or cut a little 4wd. Because the wind was so strong I knew the higher I hit it the more I would get out of it so I hit a 4 iron that finished 18 feet past the hole, I normally hit 4 iron 205 yards. So you have to learn to control trajectory and use the wind to your advantage when you can!
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