Chips & Divots: Playing into the Wind

According to Avalon Golf PGA professional Ted Wenner, if you hit straight and long, you score well. If you stray, you pay. At Avalon, players must contend with narrow fairways, an abundance of water, and the course’s most prominent feature, the wind. Wenner contends that crosswinds present the most prominent challenge for most Avalon Golf patrons. This week, we present some useful instructional tips on playing into the wind as described by Golf Digest’s pro Butch Harmon.

For a normal shot, with today’s tall-face drivers, I recommend teeing the ball so about a third of it peeks above the top edge of the clubhead. But with the wind in your face, teeing it lower is an easy way to promote a lower ball flight. Tee it so the top of the ball is even with the top of the club.

Forget the typical driving advice of staying behind the ball so you can hit up on it and throw it into the air. Going into the wind, you want to get your body more in line with the ball, or on top of it, at impact.

Coming down, keep your right shoulder and hip higher than normal, and feel as if your nose moves past the ball. When you get forward like this, your right side “covers” the ball and drives it lower.

3. SWING AT 80 Percent, MAX
The harder you swing, the more spin you put on the ball, and that causes it to fly higher. So the instinct to swing hard into the wind actually leads to shorter drives. Try to go at 70 or 80 percent. You’ll keep the ball down — and because you’re swinging in control, you’ll hit it more solidly, which is the best defense against wind.

-Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco, Henderson, Nev.
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