Follow these 4 steps for playing any shot into the wind
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.
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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