For most of us, there is seldom a day that involves golf, that doesn’t involve some form of wind interference. When I first started trying to better understand how wind effects both the ball and the golfer. I was shocked at how little quality information was readily available. It didn’t take me long to conclude that most golfers (pros included) will underestimate the effect of a headwind and overestimate the effect of a tailwind. I have come to find the following to be quite accurate for most ‘normal’ ball strikers…
The basic formula for hitting into a headwind is as follows:
5mph = 5% of the total distance + 5 yards
10mph = 10% of the total distance + 5 yards
15mph = 15% of the total distance + 5 yards
20mph = 20% of the total distance + 5 yards
This formula appears to hold true for most ball flights. If you tend to be a high launch/high spin golfer or low launch/low spin golfer you might find your results to be different. Keep in mind that the majority of golfers will typically overestimate the MPH factor. If you’re serious about your golf, you may want to look into picking up a wind meter. This is the one that has helped me gauge the wind more accurately. As you learn to do a better job gauging the wind I’ve found things to be easier if I keep my guess-timations to 5/10/15/20mph. It just serves to simplify something that can become overly complex.
Let’s not forget we hit shots downwind too:
5mph = 2% of the total distance
10mph = 3% of the total distance
15mph = 5% of the total distance
20mph = 7% of the total distance
As you can see a tailwind will have far less effect on the carry distance than a headwind might. As a result there can be no such thing as a one-club wind!
What about practicing in the wind? My experience is that wind will not only effect the ball flight, but it also has an effect on the way in which the golfer will swing the club. Here are a few of my findings:
Every golfer tested hits more down and delivers less loft into the wind
Every golfer tested hits less down and delivers more loft down wind
Every golfer moves their typical club path into the wind eg. a left to right wind always caused a golfer to swing more left
Using this information I would advise golfers:
Who hit down too much or who hit the ball too low to practice in downwind conditions when possible
Who hit the ball too high and tend to get scoopy to practice hitting into the wind when possible
Who curve the ball too much to the right to practice with the wind coming from the right when possible
Who curve the ball too much to the left to practice with the wind coming from the left when possible
Now of course if you’re headed out to practice and the wind conditions just simply don’t match what you might need that might indicate a good time for a ‘shortgame’ practice session.
I hope you find this information to be both beneficial and interesting. If you do please consider sharing it with a golfing friend.