There are times when you might be confronted with playing in heavy wind conditions on the course. It is very important to be able to control the trajectory of the ball flight when it is windy. The key to controlling the trajectory is to understand how backspin affects the ball and how to control the backspin rate.

It is important to realize that the ball will not lift off the ground without backspin. The more that backspin is imparted to the ball, the higher the ball flies. Conversely, as less backspin is imparted to the ball, the lower the ball flies.

There are two variables that dictate the backspin rate. The first is speed. Less backspin is created when the club head is moving slower through the ball. Most players on tour control their club head speed by the length of their swing. Normally a player will swing 3/4 on the backspin and vary the speed by the length of the finish to vary their backspin rate. Normal knockdown shots that flight the ball down slightly are created by finishing in a 3/4 position. I have finished with the club shaft only parallel to the ground for super windy situations.

The second variable to decrease the backspin rate is the contact point on the ball. Less backspin is created when the contact point is higher. Playing the ball back in the stance will raise the contact point. I place the ball midway between the right heel and the center of the stance for super windy conditions.

To sum up, control the backspin and therefore the ball flight by varying these two variables:

  1. Control your speed by varying the length of your follow through.
  2. Control your contact point by moving the ball back in your stance.

Remember to swing easy as you play in the wind. This will not only help you be more consistent with your flight but will also help you stay in balance.


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