Follow these 4 steps for playing any shot into the wind

windy golf

These four tips will make playing into the wind a piece of cake.

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With Waialae Country Club hosting the Sony Open this week, viewers will be able to feast their eyes on the signature 17th, a classic Redan-style oceanside par 3 that clocks in at 189 yards. But while we’re watching comfortably from home, the players will have to figure out how to navigate those early-season Hawaiian breezes. If No. 17 (No. 8 for members) is playing into the wind, here’s how we’d recommend tackling this signature shot.

The 17th at Waialae Country Club will present quite the challenge for the pros at the Sony Open.

Marco Garcia Photography

1. Take more club

Trust me: even more club than you think. There’s a reason “swing it easy when it’s breezy” became a thing. If you swing extra hard into the wind, you’re likely to add extra spin to your shot and watch it balloon high and off-line. Take two or three clubs more instead and make sure you hit that sweet spot. Swing hard enough that you’re staying aggressive through the ball but easy enough that you’re not creating extra backspin. There’s no shame in pulling a little extra club!

2. Move the ball back

Shift the golf ball slightly back in your stance, toward your rear foot. This will help you trap the ball and keep it slightly lower, staying under the wind instead of climbing unpredictably higher.

3. Open up!

When you move that ball back in your stance, it comes out lower, but because you’re making contact earlier in the club’s arc it also tends to come out a little bit to the right of target. Easy fix: Aim a little bit to the left.

4. Plan for curve

One of the reasons playing into the wind can be so intimidating is because of what that wind does to off-line shots: It sends them farther off-line. If you tend to hit a fade, that cut spin is likely to be exaggerated, so you should start your shot even farther left than you think. Don’t be alarmed when the headwind moves your ball; plan accordingly and enjoy watching it take the ride.

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Dylan Dethier

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Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, where he’s told the story of a strange cave in Mexico, a U.S. Open qualifier in Alaska and plenty in between. Dethier joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. He is a Williamstown, Mass., native and a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English. Dethier is the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.