Picture the wind is blowing a steady 15 MPH; you’ve got 165 yards to the pin from the middle of the fairway and the wind is blowing from right to left. Does this impact the way you swing the club? Highly skilled players, such as tour players will alter their swings slightly to achieve the desired outcome. Obviously any Joe-Shmo would know to aim right because the wind will be pushing the ball to the left. However, another key ingredient that highly skilled players do differently on a shot like this is shift his/her swing direction to match the wind. A highly skilled player will swing slightly more than normal from in-to-out (or positive according to trackman) when the wind is blowing right-to-left (right handed player). This allows the ball to start slightly more to the right and fall with the wind in towards the desired target. The club-face will still stay fairly square to the path through impact. The same is true for a cross wind of the opposite direction; if the wind is blowing left-to-right, a highly skilled player will swing slightly more out to in (or negative) with his/her swing direction. This will start the ball more to the left and allow the ball to fall in toward the desired target.
Let’s picture the same shot as discussed above, although, the wind is now blowing against you 15 MPH. What does a highly skilled player do differently with his/her swing in this scenario? Obviously this player would grip down on the club and take two or three more clubs than the yardage would normally indicate. Two factors are keys in helping a player hit this shot- launch angle, and spin loft. A highly skilled player will start this shot lower than normal (launch angle) and will have less spin on the ball than a normal stock swing (spin loft). To start the ball lower than normal, the player will have his/her hands slightly forward at impact and hold a low finish.  To decrease the spin on the ball, the player will take a less than full swing in length and speed. Obviously, the player would need to make sure that enough club is taken to achieve the desired result. When putting these two factors (spin loft and launch angle) together it will produce a ball flight that bores through the wind and is much more controlled.
When the wind is blowing downward toward the green, the approach is more circumstantial than a cross-wind or into-wind scenario. We now have to bring into account factors such as, the firmness of the greens, the length of the shot, the pin location, and the preference of the player. Let’s go back to our original scenario- 165 yards from the fairway to a green with no elevation change and the pin in the center of the green. The optimal scenario is to hit a shot that stays under the wind or doesn’t get overly-affected by the wind but also has enough spin to stop quickly when it lands. Most highly skilled players will use an approach where the spin loft stays relatively stock or normal; however, his/her launch angle will be lower than normal. To achieve this, his/her hands will be slightly more forward at impact- which will reduce loft.  Also, in the case of hitting a wedge, the player will hit this shot slightly toward the bottom of the club face (just underneath the sweet-spot) which will reduce loft and increasing the spin. This should also help produce good compression of the golf ball so that there is enough spin to stop the ball quickly on the green.

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